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The Spanish chest. 

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j Brown, E # A. 

The Spe.nl sh chest. 



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ANDOVER, MASS. 



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H B. M CAROLE 



THE SPANISH CHEST 



BOOKS 

BY 

EDNA A. BROWN 



Cloth. Illustrated. 
Price per volume Net $1.33 



FOUR GORDONS 

UNCLE DAVID'S BOYS 

WHEN MAX CAME 

ARNOLD'S LITTLE BROTHER 

ARCHER AND THE "PROPHET" 

THE SPANISH CHEST 



LOTHROP, LEE & SHEPARD CO,, BOSTON 



Digitized by the Internet Archive 
in 2013 



http://archive.org/details/spanishchestOObrow 




What is this tiny dotted line across the grounds?" Win 
inquired.— Page 187. 



THE 

SPANISH CHEST 



BY 



EDNA A. BROWN 



ILLUSTRATED BY JOHN GOSS AND 
FROM PHOTOGRAPHS' 




BOSTON 
LOTHROP, LEE & SHEPARD CO. 



Published, August, 1917 



Copyright, 1917, 
By Lothrop, Lee & Shepard Co. 



All Rights Reserved 



THE SPANISH CHEST 



Nnrnmnb $r?as 

BERWICK & SMITH CO., 

KOEWOOD, MASS. 
V. S. A. 



DEDICATED TO THE MEMORY 
OF 

FLORENCE AND CLARA 

who shared a winter spent in the Channel Islands and 
have now gone on a longer journey. 



This little book I wrote for thee 
Thy friendly eyes will never see. 
It was not meant for critics' reading, 
Nor for the world that scans unheeding. 
For there are lines washed in with tears, 
As well as nonsense, mocking fears. 
Alas! thine eyes will never see 
This little book I wrote for thee. 



88501 



THE SPANISH CHEST 

FOREWORD 

Once upon a time a clever Japanese artist 
drew a sketch of a man who sat industriously 
painting, when, to his great amazement, all the 
little figures on his canvas came to life and be- 
gan to walk out of the picture. 

Something like that happened to this book. 
Books grow, you know, because somebody 
thinks so hard about the different characters 
that gradually they turn into lifelike people, 
who often insist on doing things that weren't 
expected. When this especial book began to 
grow, two persons who hadn't been invited, 
came and wanted to be in the story. 

The author politely remarked that they were 
grown-up and couldn't expect to be in a book 
for young people. 

They said that they were not so very grown- 

7 



8 THE SPANISH CHEST 

tip, only twenty-three and a half and that they 
still knew how to play. 

Connie said that her home was in the Island 
of Jersey where the story was going to be, and 
if she came in, she could make things much more 
pleasant for the other characters. 

Max said that the story would go to smash 
without him, because he should be needed at an 
important moment. 

So, because they looked most wistful and 
promised very earnestly to behave as though 
they were nice children, and not be silly, the 
author said they might have a share in the 
story. 

Connie at once offered to lend her collie. So 
that is how the beach dog happens to be in the 
book. 



CONTENTS 

Chapter Page 

I. At Rose Villa „ 13 

II. Fran Engages Lodgings 25 

III. St. Helier's 39 

IV. The Beach Dog 56 

V. Mont Orgueil 68 

VI. A Race With the Tide 81 

VII. Mr. Max 94 

VIII. Richard Lisle's Letter 110 

IX. Christmas in Jersey 120 

X. The Bun Worry 139 

XI. The Manor Cave 156 

XII. Win Visits the Library 168 

XIII. About the Spanish Chest 178 

XIV- In the Vaults 192 

XV. The Haunted Room 208 

XVI. The Manor Ghost 229 

XVII. The Dotted Line 245 

XVIII. Roger the Marooned 258 

XIX. At Corbiere „ 273 

XX. Win Wonders 287 

XXI. The Two Chains 301 

XXII. The Chest Itself 313 



ILLUSTRATIONS 



"What is this tiny dotted line across the grounds?" 

Win inquired (Page 187) Frontispiece 

FACING 
PAGE 

The Village of St. Aubin's 38 

"For a long time people supposed they were called 

Martello towers from the man who built them" . 42 

Above and behind towered the ruined castle of 
Orgueil 74 

"Look there is a Jersey cow among the cabbages" 80 

"He'll come for us! He means us to climb this rock 

and wait" 90 

A most interesting little Church almost on the 

water's edge 112 

The old Norman gateway leading to Vinchelez Manor 120 

They came upon the loveliest of little beaches . • 160 

Plemont is the spot where the cable comes in from 

England 166 

Win's plan of the Manor cellars 248 

What was undoubtedly the Spanish Chest .... 328 



THE SPANISH CHEST 

CHAPTER I 

AT ROSE VILLA 

The silence in the little drawing-room had 
lasted for some moments before being broken 
by the man seated in the big wicker chair. His 
dress indicated a clergyman of the Church of 
England, his face betrayed lines of kindliness 
and forbearance, but its present expression 
showed a perplexity not unmixed with disap- 
proval. 

"I suppose, Miss Pearce," he said at length, 
"there is no use in trying further to dissuade 
you from your plan, and of course it may work 
out for the best. But — you will excuse me, my 
dear, for I have daughters of my own — you 
seem too young to undertake a lodging-house. 
Now a position as governess in a nice family — " 

Estelle Pearce interrupted him quickly. 
13 



i 4 THE SPANISH CHEST 

" There is Edith, you know. Should I try 
teaching, it would mean separation from her. 
And I must keep Edith with me. We have only 
each other now. No, Mr. Angus, I thank you 
from the bottom of my heart for your interest 
in us, but I am sure it is best to try my plan. 
You see I have the house on my hands. When 
we came to Jersey, Father leased it for the win- 
ter and I can't afford to forfeit thirty pounds. 
And there is Nurse as well as Annette. Surely 
Nurse lends dignity to any family. But I am 
older than you think,' ' she ended with a smile 
and a pretty blush. "I am twenty-four, Mr. 
Angus.' ' 

A kindly look came into the eyes bent on her 
slender, black-robed figure. "You do not look 
it, my dear," her visitor said after a pause. 
"Well, with two good servants, the plan may be 
successful. Much depends on what class of 
lodgers comes your way. I am told that Ameri- 
cans are rather desirable inmates, that they pay 
well and are not exacting. If you could let your 
rooms to some refined American ladies, things 
might adjust themselves very satisfactorily. To 
be sure, few Americans visit the Channel 
Islands; they are given to wandering farther 



AT ROSE VILLA 15 

afield. But I will speak of your plans to the 
postmaster and one or two others. It might be 
advisable to put a card in the circulating library 
at St. Helier's. Eest assured that both Mrs. 
Angus and I will do all we can for your father 's 
girls. Lionel and I were good friends at Oxford 
though we saw so little of each other afterwards. 
I did not think when he wrote me scarcely six 
weeks ago that it was to be Hail and Farewell. 

"I must go," he added quickly, seeing that 
Estelle's eyes were brimming. " Where is 
Edith? I hoped to see her also." 

"She has gone to the sands," replied Estelle. 
"It is dull for her, moping here, so I sent her 
for an errand and told her to run down and see 
whether the tide had turned. She begins school 
on Monday." 

Mr. Angus took his leave, and still looking 
doubtful, went down the steps of Rose Villa, a 
quaint little house, covered with tinted plaster, 
as is the pretty custom of the Channel Islands, 
and appearing even to a masculine ignorance 
of details much more neat and attractive than 
its neighbors. 

So Mr. Angus thought, as he turned from his 
puzzled survey of its exterior, to walk slowly 



16 THE SPANISH CHEST 

down the snort street at the end of which glit- 
tered the waters of the English Channel. 

The tide was on the turn but the expanse 
of sandy beach lay yet broad. Far toward St. 
Helier's the curve of the port showed the high 
sea-wall, for this same innocent-looking tide 
that ebbs and leaves behind miles of sandy 
stretches and rocks, can return with force suf- 
ficient to dash over even the lofty break- 
water and surprise the placid Jerseymen at 
times, by scattering large stones in the espla- 
nade. 

But here at St. Aubin's the curve of Noir- 
mont Point sheltered the little town from the 
full force of the waves. Dr. Angus looked from 
the end of Noirmont Terrace straight down to 
the sands and saw in the distance the sunset 
air filled with wheeling gulls, a group of boys 
playing football on the wide level, and some- 
what nearer, a slender girl of fourteen, dressed 
in black, with long fair hair floating over her 
shoulders. 

She was walking slowly and the kind clergy- 
man attributed her leisurely pace to dejection, 
but as a matter of fact, Edith was feeling quite 
happy and much interested in the tiny bright 



AT ROSE VILLA 17 

yellow snail shells the beach was providing for 
her entertainment. She had been spared all 
that was possible of the depression and sorrow 
of the past weeks. Daddy had been poorly for 
years and Edith could not remember him as 
ever well and strong. His loss affected her more 
because it grieved Estelle, the only mother she 
had known. 

There had been a few sad confused days 
when nothing seemed real, and strangers had 
been kind in a way that Estelle accepted with 
a sort of resentful patience, plain even to Edith. 
But since then, life had been rather cheerful, 
with a great deal of attention from Nurse, and 
Estelle 's time almost wholly given to her. It 
was gratifying to share Sister's confidence and 
to help arrange the rooms attractively for the 
possible delightful people who might come to 
lodge with them. 

That they might not be delightful, Sister 
would not admit for a moment, so of course 
they would be. St. Aubin's itself was far more 
desirable as a place of residence than the noisy 
Exeter street where Edith had spent much of 
her life. Far back in the past she could just 
remember a charming Surrey village with a 



18 THE SPANISH CHEST 

pretty vine-covered church where Daddy used 
to preach. She could recall exactly how her 
fat legs dangled helplessly from the high pew 
seat. Directly behind sat a stout farmer with 
four sons. The boys made faces at Edith on 
the sly; their mother sometimes gave her pep- 
permints. 

Edith's thoughts had wandered rather far 
afield, though still alert for any gleam of the 
yellow shells, when she arrived opposite Noir- 
mont Terrace and reluctantly left the sands. A 
light shone from the drawing-room and she 
knew that Annette would be bringing in sup- 
per, and Sister would be found poring over a 
little account book with a " don't speak just 
now" look in her eyes. 

But Estelle proved to be waiting at the open 
door and as Edith began to run on catching 
sight of her, she thought that Sister somehow 
looked happier. 

' ' Did you meet Mr. Angus ? ' ' Estelle inquired. 
1 'He went toward the sands.' ' 

"I saw him in the distance," replied Edith. 
"Why, Star, you look like — like a star," she 
ended laughing. "Was Mr. Angus agreeable! 
Did he say you oughtn't to take people?" 



AT ROSE VILLA 19 

"I think he doesn't wholly disapprove now." 
answered Estelle gently. 'And he is going to 
do what he can toward sending pleasant lo"_- 
Wonldn 1 it be nice if some dear old ladies 
should come and want to stay with ns all win- 
ter?" 

• • Jut ladies ? ■ ■ queried Edith. ' ; Do they 
have to be old ! " 

U I shouldn't take gentlemen." said Estelle. 

e wouldn *t approve, and ladies would be 

pleasant er. FerhafH there might be a young 

mother and some ducky little children. How 

would yon like tha 

••Much better," responded ESBL "I don't 
want any fussy old beaks with false fronts and 
shawls. They "d expect to be read aloud to and 
:n within an inch of their lives. I 'd like 
some babies to take down to dig and paddle. 
Bo say youT. hildren. Sister." 

• • TTeli as a matter of fact, I think we'll have 
I ":\ke the people who want to come," replied 
Estelle sensibly. "Let's just hope that some- 
body very nice will think we'd be nice to sv 7 
with. Come in now. Edith. Annette has 
shrimps for supper and after we are finished, 



20 THE SPANISH CHEST 

we will put a card in the window and see what 
happens next." 

But the little white card that most modestly 
announced "Lodgings" remained in the draw- 
ing-room casement for a week, and every day 
as Edith came from school, she looked anxiously 
to see whether it was gone. Its absence would 
mean that some one had looked at the rooms 
with approval. 

One afternoon as she came up the Terrace, 
the sight of an unknown face at an upper win- 
dow sent a thrill down her back. The card was 
yet in evidence but the presence of strangers 
indicated that some one had felt attracted by 
Eose Villa. Yes, there was a cab at the door. 

As Edith entered quietly a voice struck her 
ear, struck it unpleasantly, an English voice, 
high-pitched and rather supercilious. 

"I should require to see your kitchen, Miss 
Pearce, and your servants. I am most particu- 
lar. In fact, I must be free at any time to in- 
spect the scullery. There must be a definite 
arrangement about Marmaduke's meals. He 
likes a light breakfast with plenty of cream, 
and for dinner a chop or a bit of chicken. His 



AT ROSE VILLA 21 

dinner must be served with my luncheon. Then 
for tea — " 

U I am afraid my servants would be unwilling 
to cook especially for a dog,'' interposed Es- 
telle's voice, courteous but with a chilling tone 
Edith had never suspected it possessed. "It is 
useless for you to consider the lodgings. ' ' 

"Oh, your rooms are very passable,' * said 
the voice. "Small, of course, and underfur- 
nished, but some pictures and antimacassars 
would take off that bare look. And Marmaduke 
is adorable. Your cook would soon be devotion 
itself. Why, at my last lodgings — " 

"I really cannot undertake the care of a pet 
animal,' ' said Estelle firmly. "I hope to have 
other lodgers and his presence might be objec- 
tionable to them. You will excuse me now, as I 
have an engagement. I will ring for Nurse to 
show you out." 

1 ' Well, really, Miss Pearce, ' ' began the voice, 
but Nurse appeared on the scene so promptly 
that one might have suspected her of being all 
the time within hearing distance. Edith scut- 
tled into the drawing-room, just avoiding a very 
large, over-dressed person, who came ponder- 
ously down the stairs, a moppy white dog fes- 



22 THE SPANISH CHEST 

tooned over one arm. Her face was red and 
perspiring and she seemed to be indignantly 
struggling with feelings too strong for words. 
Edith could not suppress a stifled laugh as she 
was ushered from the house in Nurse 's grandest 
manner. 

Emerging from her refuge, Edith saw Estelle 
on the landing, her face pale except for a tiny 
red spot on either cheek, her eyes unnaturally 
bright. 

4 'My word, Star!" said Edith, giggling, 
" didn't you get rid of her finely? What a fear- 
ful person!" 

"She was impossible," said Estelle. "Oh, 
Nurse," she exclaimed impetuously, seeing the 
old family servant still lingering in the hall, 
' ' do you suppose only people like that will want 
lodgings?" 

"No, indeed, my lamb," replied Nurse, cast- 
ing a glance of satisfaction after the cab disap- 
pearing from the terrace. "Don't you fret, 
Miss Star, and don't you take the first people 
who come. Just bide your time, and there'll be 
some quality who will be what you ought to 
have. fJ 



AT ROSE VILLA 23 

"Mr. Angus thought Americans might be 
rather desirable," said Estelle hesitatingly. To 
prepare Nurse for such a possibility might be 
wise. 

Nurse pursed her lips significantly. "Well, 
it's not for me to disagree with the reverend 
gentleman," she remarked. "And I haven't 
been in contact with Americans. No doubt 
they 're well enough in their country, but I hope, 
Miss Star, it'll be some of our people that want 
to come. Now an elderly couple or some middle- 
aged ladies would be quite suitable and proper,, 
but Americans — Well, I don't know." 

Nurse shook her head dubiously as she left 
the room. Edith came to put her arms about 
Estelle. 

"What a fearful woman that was!" she re- 
peated, drawing her sister toward the window. 
"Poor Star, I'm sorry you had to talk to her. 
Rooms underfurnished, indeed! And you tried 
so hard not to have them crowded and messed 
with frightful crocheted wool things. She'd 
want a tidy on every chair and extra ones for 
Sunday. And you've made things so pretty, 
Star!" 



24 THE SPANISH CHEST 

"We think so, don't we?" replied Estelle, 
kissing her little comforter. ' ' Somebody may 
yet come who will agree with us. We won't 
give up hope." 

Estelle was silent for a moment. She did 
not want Edith to suspect how very necessary it 
was that those rooms should prove attractive to 
somebody. 

1 ' Is that the Southampton boat just rounding 
the point 1" she added. " She's extremely 
late." 

"They must have had a rough passage," 
agreed Edith, looking at the steamer ploughing 
into the smooth water of St. Aubin's bay. 
"Let's put a wish on her, Star. Let's wish, 
hardy that she has on board the nicest people 
that ever were and that they're coming straight 
out here and say they 'd like to spend the winter 
with us!" 



CHAPTER II 

FRAN ENGAGES LODGINGS 

* ' I positively refuse, ' ' said Mrs. Thayne, ' ' to 
go out again to-day. And I wish you wouldn't 
go either, Wingate, ' ' she added to her older son. 
"That steamer trip was frightful. What a 
night we did have ! As for you two, ' ' she went 
on to Frances and Roger, "I suppose you won't 
be happy until you are off for an exploring 
expedition, but I don't see how you can feel 
like it." 

"Why, Mother, I wasn't seasick," said 
Roger, a handsome, mischievous-looking boy 
about twelve. "I slept like a log till I heard 
Win being — hmm — unhappy. That woke me 
but I turned over and didn't know anything 
more till daylight." 

"I shouldn't have been sick if you hadn't be- 
gun it, Mother," observed Frances, turning 
from the window overlooking the esplanade. 

25 



26 THE SPANISH CHEST 

"I feel all right now. Mayn't Roger and I go 
down on the beach or take a car rider' she 
asked, eagerly. 

"I don't imagine there are any electric cars 
on the island," said Mrs. Thayne. 

"But out here is a funny little steam tram 
marked St. Aubin's," interposed Frances. 
"It's going somewhere. Look at the dinky 
cars with a kind of balcony and that speck of 
an engine." 

"That's a pony engine for sure," drawled 
Win, joining his sister at the window. Except 
that he was thin and fragile no one could have 
known from Win 's clever, merry dark face, how 
greatly he was handicapped by a serious heart 
trouble. But the contrast between his tall, 
loosely-knit figure and Fran's compact little 
person brought a wistful expression into Mrs. 
Thayne 's observant eyes. Win was seventeen 
and had never been able to play as other boys 
did. Probably all his life would be different, 
yet he was so plucky and brave over his limita- 
tions. 

' ' There 's the Lydia down in the harbor, ' ' ex- 
claimed Frances. "My, didn't she wiggle 
around last night!" 



FRAN ENGAGES LODGINGS 27 

"Lydia, Lydia, why dost thou tremble? 
Answer me true. 
Traveler, traveler, I'll not dissemble, 
Tis but the screw. 

Lydia, Lydia, why this commotion? 

Answer me quick. 
Traveler, traveler, 'tis but a notion. 

You must be sick!" 

drawled Win, following the direction of his 
sister's glance. 

"Win, how bright of you!" she exclaimed. 
"I wish I could think of things like that. But, 
Mother, mayn't we go out and take that little 
train wherever it 's going 1 ' ' 

"Yes, I suppose so," agreed Mrs. Thayne. 
"Take care of Fran, Roger, and don't get sepa- 
rated. You might notice any attractive places 
offering lodgings. We don't want to stay in 
this hotel all winter and the sooner we are set- 
tled the better." 

"Come along, Fran," exclaimed Roger. 
"That infant train is getting a move on." 

The two tore impetuously from the sitting- 
room. "Such energy!" Mrs. Thayne re- 
marked with a sigh. "Will you lie down here, 
Win?" 

"No, I think I'll write a bit," replied her 
son. "I'm not so done up as you are, Mother." 

' ' Why Roger wasn 't ill after the strange com- 



28 THE SPANISH CHEST 

bination of food he ate at Winchester last eve- 
ning is a miracle," remarked Mrs. Thayne. 
"Were you planning to write to Father ?" 

"I will," replied her son. "Mother, do go 
and rest. You look like the latter end of a 
wasted life. But I hope the kids will light on 
some lodgings. I've had enough of hotels. 
Nothing on earth is so deadly dull and so deadly 
respectable as a first-class English hotel. ' ' 

' ' Why, of course it is respectable, ' ' said Mrs. 
Thayne, looking rather puzzled. 

"Thunder, yes! But it's so fearfully proper! 
That head-waiter down-stairs, with his side- 
whiskers and his velvet tread and his confi- 
dential voice — why, when he came to take my 
order, I wanted to pull his hair or do something 
to turn him into a human being." 

Mrs. Thayne smiled. Much as she loved Win, 
she did not always understand him. Shut out 
from active sports, Win had early taken refuge 
in the world of books and his quick perceptions 
were often those of a mature mind. 

When his mother had gone into her room, 
Win settled himself by the west window over- 
looking the bay where Castle Elizabeth rose 
on its rock in the middle distance. Win looked 



FRAN ENGAGES LODGINGS 29 

at it approvingly, promising himself later the 
fun of finding out its history and present use. 
Just now, he would devote himself to getting 
the family journal up to date for Father, on 
duty with the Philadelphia, somewhere near 
Constantinople. It was to be on the same side 
of the Atlantic that the Thaynes had come to 
England and a slight attack of bronchitis on 
Win's part had resulted in this additional trip. 
Jersey was reported to possess a mild climate 
as well as good schools where Roger and Fran- 
ces might have new and probably interesting 
experiences. Win himself was not equal to 
school routine, but there would doubtless be 
some tutor available to give him an hour or two 
every day, a pleasant and easy task for some 
young man, for Win was always eager to study 
when health permitted. 

Deep in his heart was the ever-present regret 
that he could not enter Annapolis nor follow in 
the footsteps of his father, but if an elder 
brother had any influence, Roger was going into 
the naval service. At present, Roger showed 
no inclination to such a future, and was but 
mildly interested in his father's career, but 
Captain Thayne and Win shared an unspoken 



3 o THE SPANISH CHEST 

hope that a change would come with the passing 
years. 

For some time after finishing his letter, Win 
sat with eyes on Castle Elizabeth, idly speculat- 
ing about the coming, winter. This old-world 
island, with its differing customs and ancient 
traditions seemed a place where most interest- 
ing things might happen, a land of romance and 
fairy gold, offering possibilities of strange ad- 
venture. Just because Win was debarred from 
most boyish fun, his mind turned eagerly to 
deeds of daring. Visions of pirates, smugglers, 
and buried hoards often danced through his 
brain, and the least suggestion of any mystery 
was enough to excite his keen interest. That 
hoary old castle on its island proved a source 
of many romantic ideas to Win, who presently 
fell into a day-dream. 

The sun set in crimson splendor behind the 
castle towers and Win's reverie changed to 
genuine slumber from which he was roused by 
the reappearance of Mrs. Thayne. 

1 ' I 'm sorry I waked you, ' ' she said. ' 1 1 didn 't 
notice that you were asleep." 

" Why, I didn't know I was," said Win lazily. 
"I must have been dreaming and yet I thought 



FRAN ENGAGES LODGINGS 31 

I was awake. It was such an odd dream about 
a young man or rather a boy, in queer clothes 
ornamented with silver buttons and wearing his 
hair in curls over his shoulders. I was follow- 
ing him somewhere through a passage, very 
dark and narrow. Then suddenly we were in a 
room with a big fireplace and books around the 
walls. It was a beautiful old room but I never 
remember seeing a place like it. Some other 
people came, all men, also in queer clothes and 
very quiet and serious. On a table was food of 
some kind and this boy I had been following 
began to eat but the others stood about, appar- 
ently consulting over something. Then I woke. 
Wasn't it a crazy dream ? Oh, the reason we 
were in that passage was because something was 
lost. I don't know what it was nor how I knew 
it was lost but we were trying to find it." 

"That was odd. You must have read some- 
thing that suggested it," Mrs. Thayne began, 
just as Fran and Roger came into the room, 
bursting with suppressed excitement. For a 
few moments they talked in a duet. 

"Mother, it's lovely over at St. Aubin's, ever 
so much nicer than here," Fran began breath- 
lessly, her brown eyes sparkling. "And such a 



32 THE SPANISH CHEST 

funny little train running along the esplanade ! ' ' 

"You couldn't believe there was such a 
beach, ' ' put in Roger. ' l Why, the tide goes out 
forever, clear to the horizon! Fellows were 
playing football down there, two games. How 
much does this tide rise, Win?" 

"This book I've been reading says forty 
feet," replied his brother. 

"And the houses!" Fran went on breathless- 
ly, "all colors, cream and brown and blue and 
pink. ' ' 

"Oh, draw it mild, Sis," interrupted Win. 
"I should admire a pink house." 

"It's out there," said Frances, "and what's 
more, it's very pretty!" 

"That's right," corroborated Roger. 
"Wouldn't a pink house look something fierce 
at home? But here it's swell and kind of — of 
appropriate," he ended lamely. 

"And flowers, Mother," Frances took up the 
tale. "Hedges of fuchsia, real live tall hedges, 
not measly little potted plants. Geraniums as 
tall as I am, and ever so many roses and violets. 
Oh, and we've found some lodgings. You're to 
see them to-morrow." 

"Frances!" exclaimed her horrified mother. 



FRAN ENGAGES LODGINGS 33 

"You haven't been in strange houses, inspect- 
ing rooms ? ' ' 

"Why, you told us to look for them, didn't 
you Mother!" replied her astonished and lit- 
eral daughter. "Roger was with me. It was 
perfectly all right. ' ' 

"I simply meant you to notice from the out- 
side any attractive houses that advertised lodg- 
ings," explained Mrs. Thayne. "Well — " she 
ended helplessly, "I suppose there's no harm 
done." 

"Why, no," Frances agreed. ""What could 
happen? Let me tell you about them. We took 
the baby cars and got off at St. Aubin's because 
that especial train didn't go any farther. It's 
lovely there, Mother, and plenty of lodgings to 
let. We walked along and saw one house that 
looked pleasant, so we went up and rang and a 
maid showed us into a parlor. We knew right 
off we didn't want to come there, because the 
place was so dark and stuffy and there were 
fourteen hundred family photographs and knit 
woolen mats and such things around. I was 
going to sit down but just as I got near the 
chair, — it was rather dark, you see, — something 
said 'Hello!' and there was a horrid great 



34 THE SPANISH CHEST 

parrot sitting on the back of the chair. I 
jumped about a foot." 

"You screamed, too," said Eoger. 

"I may have exclaimed,' ' admitted Frances 
judicially. "It was not a scream. If I had 
yelled, you would have known it. Well, a 
messy old woman came who called me 'dear,' 
but when I said I didn't believe my mother 
would care for the rooms, she got huffy and said 
she was accustomed to rent her rooms to ladies, 
only she pronounced it lydies. 

"We left that place," went on Frances, pay- 
ing no attention to the look of silent endurance 
on her mother's face, "and walked some dis- 
tance without seeing anything we liked. But 
suddenly we came to a tiny street going down to 
the sea. There were only six houses and one 
had a card in the window. They faced the bay 
and just big rocks were on the other side of the 
street. Now, listen." 

Frances went on dramatically. "The house 
with the card was the dearest thing, all cream- 
color and green, with a pink rambler rose per- 
fectly enormous, growing 'way up to the eaves, 
and a rough roof of red tiles and steep gables. 
The windows were that dinky kind that open 



FRAN ENGAGES LODGINGS 35 

outward and had little bits of panes. Every- 
thing was clean as clean, the steps and the cur- 
tains and the glass. While we were looking, 
the door opened and a girl came out. She was 
about my age, Mother, but so pretty, with gray 
eyes and yellow hair and such a complexion. 
I'd give anything to look like her." 

Frances shook her head with disapproval 
over her own brown hair and eyes. To be sure 
the one was curly and the others straightfor- 
ward and earnest, while her gipsy little face and 
figure were considered attractive by most people 
and by those who loved her, very satisfactory 
indeed. 

"Well, this girl came out and we sort of 
smiled at each other and I asked if that card 
meant that there were rooms to let. I told her 
you were seasick, and at the hotel, and my 
brother and I saw the card and we were looking 
for lodgings and all the rest, you know. She 
said yes, there were rooms and she'd call Sister. 

"Sister came and she was a love, tall and 
sweet and just beautiful, only she looked sad 
and wore a black dress. The younger girl went 
away but Sister showed us the rooms and they 
are just what we'd like, I'm sure. There wasn't 



36 THE SPANISH CHEST 

any messy wool stuff nor ugly vases, — I forgot 
to mention that in the other place there were 
eight pair of vases on the mantel, truly, for 
Roger counted them. These rooms were clean 
and rather bare, with painted floors and wash- 
able rugs and fresh curtains and flowers, just 
one vase in each room and a clear glass vase at 
that. The beds had iron frames and good 
springs and mattresses, for I punched them to 
see. Aren't you proud to think I knew enough 
to do that ? ' ' Fran interrupted her story. 

"Two bedrooms had the furniture painted 
white and the rest had some old mahogany,' ' 
she went on. 

"How many rooms were there'?" inquired 
Mrs. Thayne, attracted by Fran's enthusiasm 
and interested by the pleasant picture she was 
describing. 

"On the first floor is the drawing-room, which 
will be at our disposal," began Frances, evi- 
dently quoting "Sister." "It's pretty and 
sweet, Mother dear, very simple with a little up- 
right piano and quite a number of books and a 
fireplace. Just behind is a room where we can 
have our meals. We can use as many bedrooms 
as we like; there are five and Sister said if we 



FRAN ENGAGES LODGINGS 37 

wished, one could be made into an up-stairs- 
sitting-room. The bathroom was really up-to- 
date, and looking very clean. ' ' 

"And how much does Sister expect for all 
this?" inquired her mother. 

' ' Well, ' ' admitted Frances, ' ' I asked and she 
smiled so sweetly and said it depended upon how 
much service we required and whether we 
wanted to do our own marketing and perhaps it 
would be better to discuss the terms after you 
saw whether you liked the rooms. I told her 
we were Americans and she said yes, she had 
thought so. I don't see why," Frances ended 
reflectively. 

Win gave a chuckle. "Easy enough to guess," 
he remarked. "I imagine English girls of four- 
teen don't go around on their own hook, engag- 
ing lodgings for the family." 

i ' I am almost fifteen, ' ' said his sister severely. 
"And I understood that Mother wanted me to 
look for rooms, so I did, but of course she will 
make the final arrangements. I thanked Sister 
and said I'd try to bring my mother in the morn- 
ing, for I felt sure she would like the rooms. 
And Sister said she'd be very glad to have young 
people in the house and that if you wanted ref- 



38 THE SPANISH CHEST 

erences, Mother, you could apply to some clergy- 
man, — I forget his name, — but I know it's all 
right. You'll think so, too, the minute you see 
Sister. I fell in love with her. Oh, her name 
is Pearce, Estelle Pearce. She gave me her 
card. ' ' 

Frances produced it. i l You will come and see 
the rooms to-morrow, won't you, Mother? Win 
can come too, for that tiny train is very comfor- 
table and the walk to the house is short. Rose 
Villa, Noirmont Terrace. Isn't that a sweet 
name?" 



CHAPTER HI 

ST. HELIER'S 

The moment she entered Rose Villa, Mrs. 
Thayne heartily agreed with Frances as to its 
desirability. To Estelle 's amazement, she pro- 
ceeded to engage all the rooms, offering to pay 
for the privilege of having the whole house 
for her family. 

This was better fortune than Estelle had 
dreamed of and scarcely two days passed before 
she realized that a kindly star was favoring her. 
Frances and Edith became friends on the spot; 
Nurse, who might have proved a problem, took 
an instant fancy to delicate Win and started on a 
course of coddling that luckily amused Win 
quite as much as it satisfied Nurse. Blunt- 
downright Roger appealed especially to Estelle, 
who also found Mrs. Thayne charming. 

" Aren't we in luck, little sister! " she confided 
to Edith. "Even our wildest expectations 



4 o THE SPANISH CHEST 

couldn't have pictured anything more pleasant 
than this. If they only stop the winter! But 
where are you going now ? ' ' 

"On the sands with the others," said Edith 
happily. "Fran asked me. The boys have 
gone ahead to the end of the terrace." 

Win was singing softly to himself as he stood 
looking down upon the sandy beach that 
stretched for miles towards St. Helier's at the 
left, and on the right, though showing more 
warm red granite rocks, to Noirmont Point. 
"Britannia needs no bulwarks, no towers along 
the steeps," he hummed just above his breath. 

1 l There 's a tower right in front of you, ' ' com- 
mented Roger, between the throwing of two 
stones. 

Win cast a glance at the deserted castle of St. 
Aubin's, a miniature Castle Elizabeth on its iso- 
lated rock off shore, another at the martello 
tower on the point. 

"I was talking to a man about those little 
towers, ' ' he remarked. ' ' One can be rented for 
a pound a year, and there are thirty-two of 
them around the island. But they didn 't amount 
to much when it came to actual fighting. The 
rocks and tides are what makes Jersey safe. 



ST. HELIER'S 41 

That's what I meant by this place needing no 
bulwarks.' ' 

' ' One of those martello towers would make a 
fine wireless station, ' ' commented Roger. ' l Why 
did they build them if they aren't any use?" 

"They thought they were going to be," re- 
plied Win, looking to see whether the girls were 
coming. "About two centuries ago there was 
a battle down in the Mediterranean that was 
decided by the possession of one of those little 
towers, so England built a good many. But 
they weren't much use after all." 

"I never knew that before," said Edith, as 
she and Frances joined the boys. 

"England wasn't the only nation that was 
taken in by them," Win went on. "Italy has 
a number on her southern coast. For a long 
time people supposed they were called martello 
towers from the man who built them, but I 
found in a book that the name came from a vine 
that grew over this one in Corsica. Before many 
moons pass I'm going to get into one of them. 
Smugglers must have used them and there may 
be things left behind." 

Frances cast a glance at the tower in ques- 
tion. At first inspection it looked like a stony 



42 THE SPANISH CHEST 

mushroom sprouting from the rocks. Some 
distance above the base opened a rough entrance 
and a low parapet encircled the top. To scram- 
ble over the exposed rocks to the base of this 
especial tower appeared a hard climb, to say 
nothing of the difficulties of ascending. The feat 
looked beyond Win's accomplishment but Fran- 
ces said nothing. To argue with Win about 
whether he could or ought to attempt anything 
was never wise. Left to himself he would stop 
within the bounds of prudence but resented 
solicitude from others. 

"Well, where are we going V 9 she asked. 

"Let's take the train into St. Helier's," sug- 
gested Win. "We 7 ve scarcely seen the town." 

Edith looked doubtful. "I ought to ask Sis- 
ter, ' ' she said. ' ' Star thought we were just go- 
ing on the sands." 

"And so we are," replied Roger. "We're 
taking a train that runs on the sands, ' ' he mim- 
icked in a teasing, boyish way. "Why don't 
you call it a beach?" 

"Because it is sands," retorted Edith with a 
pretty flash of spirit that Roger already de- 
lighted to arouse. ' ' The tram-line is far beyond 
the shingle." 



I ■ 







ST. HELIER'S 43 

"Shingle!" gasped Roger, staring in that di- 
rection. "I don't see any." 

"The pebbles, cobbles, beyond the sands," ex- 
plained Edith. 

1 ' Oh, excuse me, ' ' chuckled Roger. ' ' I thought 
they were plain stones. Didn't see anything 
particularly wooden about them." 

Edith looked at him. A few days had made 
her feel very well acquainted with these friendly 
young people, but Roger was often surprising. 

"Oh, cut it short, Roger," drawled Win. 
"Run back, will you, and tell Mother that we 
want to go into town. She won't care and I 
don't believe Miss Estelle will either, but we 
ought to mention it. Hustle, because I think 
that train is coming." 

Roger obligingly bolted back, received a nod 
of possible comprehension from a mother very 
much absorbed in an important letter, and ar- 
rived just as the others boarded the steam tram, 
a funny affair with a kind of balcony along one 
side where people who preferred the air could 
stay instead of going inside. Edith and Frances 
exchanged smiles of happiness. 

"I haven't been to St. Helier's often," Edith 
confided. "Just to market once with Nurse, and 



44 THE SPANISH CHEST 

once to choose curtains with Sister. We 
thought the drapers' shops quite excellent." 

Fran's attention was held for an instant, but 
after all it seemed only reasonable that 
draperies should be purchased at a draper's. 

" Isn't the beach lovely?" she confided. "It 
would be fun to walk back." 

1 ' We might, ' ' said Edith. ' ' Would Win care 
if we did? Or could he do it too?" 

"He couldn't walk so far," said Fran, "but 
he won't mind if we want to. W T in is angelic 
about not stopping us from doing things he can't 
do himself. ' ' 

"Has he always had to be so careful?" asked 
Edith. She and Frances sat at a little distance 
from the boys. Eoger was peering around into 
the cab of the tiny engine; Win watched the 
water as it broke on the beach. 

"Always," said Frances. "He was just a 
tiny baby when they knew something was wrong 
with his heart. It isn't painful and may never 
be any worse. Only he must take great care not 
to get over-tired. Ever so many doctors have 
seen him and they all say the same thing, — 
that if he is prudent and never does too much, 
he may outlive us all. Just now in London, he 



ST. HELIER'S 45 

and Mother went to a specialist but all he told 
Win was that he must cultivate the art of being 
lazy. Mother says the worst was when he was 
too little to realize that he mustn't do things. 
Now, of course, he understands and takes care 
of himself. It's hard on Win but Mother says 
it's good for Roger and me. It does make Roger 
more thoughtful. He says anything he likes to 
Win and pretends to tease him, but if you notice, 
you'll see that he does every single thing Win 
wants and always looks to see if he's all right. 
It helps me too, for I'm ashamed to fuss over 
trifles when Win has so much to bear. ' ' 

The little tram was traveling at a moderate 
pace toward town, stopping at several tiny sta- 
tions where more and more people entered. 

"I can't get used to hearing people talk 
French," said Frances. "It seems so odd when 
Jersey is a part of England. ' ' 

"The French spoken here isn't that of Paris," 
remarked her brother, rising from his seat. "It's 
Norman French." 

"I know I can't understand it easily," con- 
fessed Edith, "and Sister has always taken 
pains to teach me. I'm glad it isn't all my 
fault." 



46 THE SPANISH CHEST 

The train came to a stand on the esplanade of 
St. Helier 's. The four stopped to look over the 
sea-wall, to the beach far below, across to the 
long stone piers forming the artificial sea basin 
and up to Fort Regent overhanging the town 
like a war-cloud. 

"That fort looks stuck on the cliff like a 
swallow's nest," commented Roger. "Look, 
there's a snow-white sea-gull!" 

"There's another with a black tail," ex- 
claimed Edith. "Oh, aren't they beautiful!" 

"In the United States is a city that put up a 
monument to the sea-gulls," said Win. "Salt 
Lake City, ever so far inland. A fearful plague 
of grasshoppers ate everything green and 
turned the place into a desert. They came the 
second summer, but something else came too. 
Over the Rocky Mountains, away from the 
Pacific Ocean, flew a great flock of gulls and 
ate the grasshoppers. Their coming seemed so 
like a miracle that the city erected a beautiful 
monument to them." 

"Did they ever come again?" asked Edith, 
greatly impressed. 

"No," said Win. "Just that once." 

"Without doubt it was a miracle," said 



ST. HELIER'S 47 

Edith so reverently that the three looked at 
her. 

Roger gave a little snort, started to say some- 
thing, looked again at Edith's rapt face and 
changed his mind. "Boston ought to put up 
a monument, too," he remarked at length. 
"Miracles happen every summer in Boston. 
The city swelters with the mercury out of sight 
and then along steps the east wind. In ten 
minutes, everybody puts on coats and stops 
drinking ice-water. Some tidy miracle-worker, 
our east wind." 

"Especially in winter," said Win laughing. 
"I'm afraid a monument to the east wind 
wouldn't be popular along in January. Shall 
we come on? Let's go up this street. I've a 
map, but things look rather crooked, so we'd 
better keep together." 

The quartette started, Roger and Win leading 
the way. St. Helier's streets are indeed crook- 
ed, and paved with cobble stones of alarming 
size and sonorous qualities. Numerous men 
and boys tramped along in wooden sabots 
which made a most unearthly clatter. Even 
little girls wore them, though otherwise their 
dress was not unusual. Outside one shop 



48 THE SPANISH CHEST 

hung many of the clumsy foot-gear, the price 
explaining their evident popularity. 

Signs over shops were as often French as 
English and sometimes both. At one corner, 
the party met a man ringing a bell and utter- 
ing a proclamation in French. At the next cor- 
ner he stopped to announce it in English and 
the interested boys found that he was advertis- 
ing a public auction. No one else seemed in 
the least attentive to his remarks. 

Fifteen minutes' loitering through narrow, 
ill-paved streets, crowded with hurrying people 
and a great number of dogs, brought the four 
to an open square of irregular shape with a 
gilded statue at one end. Its curious draperies 
caught Win's observant eye and he walked 
around it thoughtfully. 

"What a very queer costume!" he remarked 
as he completed his circuit. "What is it doing 
on a statue of an English king?" 

Win spoke aloud, not noticing that the others 
were beyond hearing, but his inquiry was an- 
swered by a gentleman who chanced to be pass- 
ing. 

"It is a Roman statue," he volunteered, 
"rescued from a shipwreck. The thrifty Jer- 



ST. HELIER'S 49 

seymen considered it too good to be wasted, 
so they gilded it and placed it here in the Royal 
Square in honor of George the Second." 

Win smiled as he turned to the speaker, a 
tall, thin Englishman in riding dress. His 
bearing suggested a military training and a 
second glance showed an empty coat-sleeve. 

* ' This group of buildings may interest you, ' ' 
the speaker added. "They contain the Court 
House, Parliament rooms and a small public 
library. ' ' 

Touching his riding-crop to his hat in re- 
sponse to Win's thanks, he turned into a side 
street where a young man mounted on a hand- 
some horse sat holding the bridle of another. 
With interest Win watched them ride away. 
Even from a distance, something about the 
younger man struck a chord of recollection in 
Win's usually reliable memory. He was al- 
most certain that somewhere, at some time, they 
had met. Yet he could not think of any Amer- 
ican acquaintance of that age who would be at 
all likely to be riding about the island of Jersey, 
his companion not only an Englishman, but ob- 
viously an ex-army officer. 

Still, the impression of familiarity was 



50 THE SPANISH CHEST 

strong and Win was yet wondering about it as 
he slowly climbed the stairs leading to the pub- 
lic library. 

Protesting somewhat, the others followed to 
look at a rather uninviting room, appealing to 
them far less than to Win, already on the trail 
for local history. The attendant proved oblig- 
ing and after supplying Win with several books 
brought out a shabby brown volume. 

"We have one of your writers on our 
shelves,' ' he remarked with a smile, offering 
the book to Frances. 

"Poems of Oliver Wendell Holmes," she read 
aloud. "Haven't you any other American 
authors?" she demanded in amazement. "And 
how did you know I was an American?" 

The librarian shook his head. "I have often 
thought we should have more American books," 
he replied, "but they are so extremely dear as 
compared with those published on this side of 
the Atlantic that we have not afforded them. 
How did I know your nationality? By the way 
you speak." 

Frances looked disgusted. She said little 
more, but soon persuaded the reluctant Win to 



ST. HELIER'S 51 

postpone his investigations and come down 
again into the Royal Square. 

"Now, Sis, what's the matter with you?" 
Win inquired on seeing her flushed face. 

"Oh, you didn't hear that man say he knew 
I was an American by the way I talked/ ' 
sniffed Frances indignantly. 

"Anybody would think you didn't want to be 
one," commented Roger bluntly. 

"I wouldn't be anything else," retorted 
Frances, "only I don't care to have fun poked 
at the way I talk. ' ' 

Win's glance traveled from his sister's an- 
noyed face to Edith 's, which wore a look of per- 
plexity. 

"We're polite," he remarked. "Here's 
Edith, who wouldn't be anything but English." 

"No," said Edith gravely. "One always 
feels that way about one's country. But I un- 
derstand what Frances means. And I see why 
people know you are not English. It isn't so 
much your pronunciation, but you put words 
in odd places in the sentence and some of your 
expressions are most unusual," she ended apol- 
ogetically. "I like them. It is interesting to 
hear things called by new names. Just now 



52 THE SPANISH CHEST 

Fran said 'poke fun' when she meant 'criticise,' 
and Roger says a thing is i fine and dandy ' when 
I should call it 'top-hole.' That is the differ- 
ence, is it not?" 

The others laughed and Edith's attempt to 
bridge a dangerous situation ended success- 
fully. Presently their whereabouts absorbed 
their attention for Win had left the map behind 
him on the library table. 

For a time they wandered at random, follow- 
ing one narrow street after another, seeing in- 
teresting shop windows, but presently discov- 
ered that they did not know where they were. 

"The esplanade must lie at our left," said 
Win. "If we keep turning in that direction we 
shall surely strike it." 

"Look at that candy," exclaimed Roger, at- 
taching himself to a confectioner's window. 
"Here's a chance to acquire some choice Eng- 
lish. What is black-jack, Edith? Looks like 
liquorice. Bismarck marble, Gladstone rock, 
toffy— what's toffy?" 

"It is sweets made of treacle instead of su- 
gar," explained Edith, turning surprised eyes 
upon him. 

"Sweets! treacle!" exclaimed Roger after a 



ST. HELIER'S 53 

petrified instant. " Bring me a fan! Give me 
air!" 

"Why," said Frances, a sudden light dawn- 
ing on her. "Treacle! I never knew before 
what Alice in Wonderland meant by her treacle 
well. It's molasses, Edith. There are some 
chocolate peppermints ! ' ' 

Without stopping for further speech Fran- 
ces dashed into the shop. Presently she em- 
erged, earring a white paper bag, or "sack" 
as Edith designated it, and with an odd ex- 
pression of face. 

' i Joke ? ' ' inquired Win. ' ' What did you ask 
for?" he demanded, accepting a piece of candy. 

"I got what I wanted," said Fran evasively. 
"It's always possible to walk behind a counter 
and help yourself if you don't know the names 
of things." 

Later she drew Edith aside. "What do you 
call these?" she asked confidentially. 

"Peppermint chocolate drops," replied 
Edith. « « What else could they be ? " 

Turning constantly to the left did not bring 
them to the sea. Instead they walked a long 
distance only to find themselves in a poorer part 
of the town, with increasing crowds of children 



54 THE SPANISH CHEST 

inclined to follow. Their appearance seemed a 
source of interest to older people as well and 
presently Win was induced to inquire his way 
to the boulevard. 

To his surprise the reply came in French, but 
between his own knowledge and that of Edith, 
they made out that they were traveling inland 
instead of toward the shore. This sounded im- 
possible unless they had completely lost all 
sense of direction. 

But a second inquiry brought the same an- 
swer, so they followed the offered advice, com- 
ing at last to the bay of St. Aubin's more than 
a mile below St. Helier's, fortunately near one 
of the tram stopping-places. Edith was good 
for a walk home and Roger would have gone 
also if challenged, but both Win and Frances 
were tired so Edith did not propose to return 
by the beach. Indeed, the tide was now so high 
that they would have been forced to go part of 
the way by the road. 

"School for us to-morrow," said Frances 
dismally. "But I think we should plan to do 
something very interesting every holiday all 
winter.' ' 

"We will take a tea-basket and lunch out of 



ST. HELIER'S 55 

doors,' ' replied Edith happily. " There are 
beautiful spots to visit in Jersey.' ' 

Win looked up suddenly. "Fran," he asked, 
"did you notice those gentlemen who rode out 
of the square while we were looking at the stat- 
ue? Had you ever seen the younger one be- 
fore?" 

Fran shook her head. "I noticed only the 

one who spoke to you," she replied. "I was 
looking at their horses.' ' 

"All the same," mused Win thoughtfully, 
"I've seen that young fellow before and it 
must have been in the United States, for 
I know I should remember encountering him 
over here." 



CHAPTER IV 

THE BEACH DOG 

"You would certainly smile if you could see 
the school I am going to, ' ' Frances wrote to her 
chum, Marjorie Benton, "but when I think of 
you and the other girls back at the dear old 
Boston Latin, I feel more like crying. 

"First I must tell you about Edith Pearce, 
the girl in the house where we are staying. She 
has long flaxen hair which hangs over her 
shoulders in the most childish way, though 
she's our age. Her eyes are gray with dark 
lashes and when she looks at you they are like 
surprised stars. And she has the most beauti- 
ful complexion in the world, just pink and 
white. She is lovely to look at and I feel like 
a tanned, homely gipsy beside her. She's 
sweet too, but very easily shocked and I'm 
afraid she's not only good but pious. She can 
never take your place so don't worry, only, as 
I have to be here, I might as well have some 
fun with her. 

" I go to school with Edith and it is as unlike 
the Latin School as the North Pole and Boston 
Common. There are about thirty boarders, 
some of them little bits of things — Edith calls 

56 



THE BEACH DOG 57 

them 'tinies' — who have been sent home from 
India where their parents conldn't keep them 
any longer. Abont fifty day-scholars attend, 
from kindergarten age np. 

"I'm the only American and I can tell you 
I was well stared at. At first the girls couldn't 
believe it, insisted that I must be Scotch or at 
least Canadian, so now I wear a little United 
States flag pin all the time. Gracious, but 
things are different, especially clothes! Mine 
are the prettiest in school, if I do say it, and 
Edith thinks so too. She says my 'frocks' are 
1 chic. ' 

"Most of the girls, even the big ones almost 
eighteen, wear their hair hanging and have 
such dresses, — frocks, I mean. They fit like 
meal bags, and being combinations of many 
colors, look perfectly dreadful. And yet the 
girls are very nice, some of them from really 
important families. 

"To cap the climax, most of them sport ugly 
black mohair aprons which they call ' alpaca 
pinnies.' Marjorie, can you imagine what they 
look like? I told Mother if she wanted me to 
be English to the extent of wearing a pinafore, 
I should lie down and die and I'm thankful to 
say that she simply grinned. But many of the 
girls have wonderful yellow or red-gold hair 
and stunning peachy complexions, so they 
aren't such frights as you'd think. 

"Instead of going around from one class to 
another as in any sensible school, the girls stay 
intone room and teacher after teacher, — I mean 
mistress, comes to them. I get so everlastingly 
tired sitting still. Never before did I realize 



5 8 THE SPANISH CHEST 

what a rest it was to walk from class to class 
and get a chat on the way. The only excep- 
tions to this rule are preparation, when we sit 
at desks under the eye of a monitress, and 
gymnasium work. 

"Marjorie, when I first beheld that gymna- 
sium teacher, I nearly fainted. Her molasses- 
colored hair was frizzed hard in front and 
pinned in a round bun at the back of her head. 
She had on tight-fitting knee trousers, not 
bloomers, believe me. Over these she wore a 
white sweater of a very fancy weave. Over 
this was a weird tunic of alpaca with two box- 
plaits in front and three in back. This fell an 
inch or so below her knees, and every time she 
bent over or stretched up, those queer tight 
trousers showed. Her shoes were ordinary 
ones with heels. The girls wear either their 
usual frocks or an arrangement like this. I 
can tell you my pretty brown gym suit was the 
event of the day when I appeared in it. 

"Everybody wears slippers at school, puts 
them on when she first comes and no wonder, 
because the English shoes are the worst-looking 
and clumsiest things ever invented by man. 
Edith's feet look twice as big in her boots as in 
slippers. You'd think by their appearance that 
English feet were a different shape from ours, 
but they are not; it is only the shoes. They 
make them so thick and stout that they last for 
years. Edith was plainly shocked when I told 
her I had a new pair every few months. She 
thinks mine suitable only for the house. Well, 
I will admit that English girls can out-walk 
me. 



THE BEACH DOG 59 

"The other mistresses aren't so queer as the 
gym teacher hut look more like other people 
except that they wear too much jewelry. Every- 
body wears a great deal and you know what we 
think at home of ladies who appear on the 
street with rings and chains and lockets. Edith 
and her sister Estelle don't dress so, but Mother 
says they are quite exceptional. 

"As for lessons, we have to study. They ex- 
pect a lot of grammar and parsing, and dates 
in history and solid facts in geography and all 
that. Mother approves; she thinks the English 
system much less faddy than at home. We have 
Bible instruction in regular lessons. I'll admit 
that these English girls know more than I do 
about things in books, but they haven't any 
idea what's going on in the present world. 
They didn't know much about the Panama 
canal and the tolls. Win howled when I said 
I explained it to them and vowed he'd give a 
dollar to have heard me. And several didn't 
know who was president of the United States. 
Imagine that, when we're the most important 
republic in the world! I knew their old king. 

"We begin school at half-past eight and have 
prayers and a Bible exercise. Different classes 
follow until eleven when a gong rings and 
everybody rushes into the garden, a lovely place 
with box-edged beds and a sun dial and gravel 
walks. There are myrtles and geraniums, great 
big bushes of them, and japonicas and heaven- 
ly wall-flowers and trees of lemon verbena and 
fuchsias up to the eaves. This is solid truth, 
and in November, too. 

"In the garden we find a table with jugs of 



60 THE SPANISH CHEST 

milk, — notice my English, please — and biscuit, 
that is, crackers, and we gobble and faith, we 
have reason! Studying so hard makes one fam- 
ished. Then recreation follows for half an hour 
and we play ball or tennis. Some of the girls 
are splendid players. School again until two, 
when we day- scholars leave. 

" Three afternoons a week, we have to go 
back for gym work and English composition, 
which is beastly. On Wednesday there is no 
school. 

"Do you want to know what I've learned in 
one week of school in Jersey? 

"Well, I can speak three sentences in French. 
I'll write you in French next time. 

"I know that Amos and Hosea and Isaiah 
were all prophets and said that Israel was a 
very bad place. 

"I know that Paleolithic man was probably 
the first inhabitant of Great Britain. 

"I know how few people like to join mission 
study classes. 

1 ' And I know that I love you. ' ' 

Fran finished her letter, directed and sealed 
the envelope, affixed a stamp, sniffing slightly 
at the head of King George instead of George 
Washington, and ran down-stairs. 

"Do you know where Edith is?" she asked of 
Nurse. 

"She is out in front, Miss Frances," replied 
Nurse. ' ' Are you going for a walk ? ' ' 

"Just to the beach. We'll be back for tea." 



THE BEACH DOG 61 

Edith stood at the gate and the two ran down 
to the shore. The tide, half-way out, left bare 
a tremendous expanse of wet sand, iridescent 
under the sun's rays. The water showed won- 
derful shades of blue, green and turquoise, and 
in the edge of the retreating waves walked 
hundreds of gulls, searching for food. 

The girls started up the beach toward St. 
Helier's, chatting happily as they watched the 
water and the birds. Little sandpipers appeared 
and some huge gray cormorants. 

Presently a handsome collie ran up to them, 
dropped a stone before Frances and stood look- 
ing at her, his head cocked on one side, all but 
speaking. 

' ' You darling, ' ' said Frances, picking up the 
pebble. "Does he want to be played with? 
Well, he shall.' ' 

She threw the stone down the beach and the 
collie shot after it at full speed, his beautiful 
tawny coat shining in the sunlight. 

"Twice before," said Edith, "when I've been 
on the sands, he has begged me to throw stones 
for him to chase. He's a thorough-bred. Such 
fine markings! He looks like one of the West- 
moreland sheep dogs. You've heard of them, 



62 THE SPANISH CHEST 

haven't you? They are so intelligent about 
taking care of sheep and they understand every- 
thing their masters want. We saw one once 
that separated and brought to his master three 
sheep out of a big flock and the man didn't say 
one word, only motioned to him. He wants you 
to throw it again.' ' 

"I can't throw stones for you all night," said 
Fran at last. "You take a turn, Edith.' ' 

Edith threw a pebble picked up at random. 
The collie raced for it and after a sniff, returned 
without it. 

"He wants his own stone and no other," 
laughed Frances. * l See, he 's hunting all about. 
There, he's found it!" 

For a good mile down the beach the collie ac- 
companied them, till both were tired of play. 
Convinced that they would throw his stone no 
longer, the dog reluctantly left them. Looking 
back, they saw him accosting a young man, who 
promptly yielded to the mute coaxing. 

"I wonder whose dog he is," said Edith. 
"He didn't seem to belong to any one we passed* 
I fancy he 's here on his own. ' ' 

"We really ought to go over to Castle Eliza-; 
beth soon," observed Frances. "Doesn't it 



THE BEACH DOG 63 

look like a huge monster stranded out there in 
the harbor!" 

''Sister is afraid of the tides," replied Edith. 
"A soldier was drowned there the other day, 
trying to cross the causeway after the tide had 
turned. Look, Fran, I believe that must be his 
funeral up on the road now. It is a military 
one at any rate." 

Frances looked with interest. First marched 
a guard of soldiers, two by two, then a band 
with muffled drums, playing the Dead March. 
After the band came a gun-carriage drawn by 
four horses and bearing the coffin, over which 
was draped the English flag. Several barouches 
followed with officers in uniform, and then the 
rest of the regiment, walking very slowly, their 
guns reversed. 

As the procession approached, every man on 
the route uncovered and did not replace his hat 
until it had passed, a mark of respect which 
struck Frances forcibly. "They have better 
manners than we have," she acknowledged half 
to herself. 

Edith looked surprised. "Men always un- 
cover on meeting a funeral," she remarked. 
1 ■ This was a private, but if he had been an offi- 



64 THE SPANISH CHEST 

cer, his helmet and sword would be on the flag, 
and directly behind the gun-carriage, his order- 
ly would lead his riderless horse. A military 
wedding is so pretty, Frances. I saw one once 
in Bath Abbey. The officers were all in full 
uniform and after the ceremony they formed 
in the aisle, two lines going way down out of the 
church and at a signal, drew their swords and 
crossed them with a clash above their heads and 
the bride and groom came down this path 
through the glittering swords. I was just a tiny 
then, but I decided I'd marry a soldier so I 
could have the arch of swords.' ' 

"It must have been very pretty," Frances 
agreed. "Why, what are those? See, like im- 
mense horseshoes in the water." 

"The bathing pools," explained Edith. 
"They show only when the tide is very low. 
They keep back water for bathing." 

"And a good job, too, when you have a tide 
that goes out of sight, ' ' commented Frances ap- 
provingly, as she looked at the two huge 
masonry walls near St. Helier's, set in the ex- 
panse of wet sand. "Look at the boys sailing 
boats." 

"Sometimes there are real races with little 



THE BEACH DOG 65 

model yachts/ ' said Edith. "There's a club 
of the young officers and some of the towns- 
people and they have the prettiest little minia- 
ture boats with keels about a metre long, rigged 
exactly like real racing yachts. It's great sport 
to see them. But ought we not to go back?" 

The girls turned for they were already far 
from home. To their surprise they were pres- 
ently greeted again by the collie who tore up to 
hail them rapturously. 

"Still chewing your stone?" Frances in- 
quired. ' ' Come along. I suppose we '11 have to 
take you part way back." 

The collie flew for the pebble as though for 
the first time of the afternoon. Before they had 
gone more than a quarter of a mile, a pretty 
young lady came up. 

"I'm afraid my bad Tylo has been bothering 
you," she said apologetically. "He is forever 
coming on the sands and badgering people into 
playing with him." 

"Oh, we liked to play," said Frances, smil- 
ing. "I think he's a brick. What did you call 
him?" 

* ' Tylo, ' ' replied the young lady. ' ' After the 
dog in the * Bluebird, ' you know. ' ' 



66 THE SPANISH CHEST 

Edith also smiled. Their new acquaintance 
was looking from one to another, a charming 
and rather mischievous expression lighting a 
sweet face. 

"You're a little sister compatriot," she said 
to Edith; "but I fancy this little lady comes 
from across the ocean." 

"Yes, I do," said Frances, "but how did you 
know!" 

The young lady laughed merrily. "Oh, Tve 
knocked about a good bit. And I happen to 
have known one American boy very well. In- 
deed, we really grew up together in Italy and 
England. ' Brick' is rather an American word, 
isn't it? I've surely heard my friend use it. 
Americans seldom find their way to Jersey. 
Are you stopping long?" 

"Perhaps all winter," replied Frances. 

"There are many delightful excursions to 
make in the island," said the young lady. 
"Come along, Tylo. TVe must go home to tea. 
Oh," she added to the girls, "when you go on 
picnics, don't forget to look for caves." 

With another smile and a charming little nod, 
she left them. 

"I wonder who she is," said Frances, frankly 



THE BEACH DOG 67 

looking after her. The erect lithe figure was 
crowned by a finely poised head and a wealth of 
beautiful fair hair, prettily arranged. Some- 
thing in her face suggested possibilities of good 
comradeship, and her dress, while simplicity 
itself, betrayed a French origin. 

"She looks nice enough and ladylike enough 
to be an American," thought Frances approv- 
ingly and with a sudden stab of homesickness. 

"I wish she'd told us her name," she went 
on aloud, "and who the American boy was. 
Perhaps we might know him." 

"He can scarcely be a boy now if they grew 
up together." observed Edith. "Wasn't she 
sweet? I hope we'll see her again." 

"And what did she mean by caves?" Frances 
continued, pursuing her train of thought, 
"That sounded very interesting and mysteri- 



CHAPTER V 

MONT ORGUEIL 

To find a tutor for the boys proved less easy 
than Mrs. Thayne anticipated. There seemed a 
dearth of available young men in Jersey and 
she had about decided to send Roger to the 
best school and let Win work as he chose by 
himself, when Mr. Angus heard of a young 
Scotchman, already acting as secretary to a gen- 
tleman in St. Helier's and who could give the 
boys his afternoons. 

Such an arrangement was not ideal, but Win 
took an instant liking to the tall raw-boned per- 
son, who announced himself in a delightful 
manner as "Weelyum Feesher." 

Roger promptly dubbed him Bill Fish and 
refused to speak of him by any other term, caus- 
ing his mother to live in terror lest Mr. Fisher 
should in some way learn of the disrespectful 
abbreviation. Roger was not at all enthusiastic 

68 



MONT ORGUEIL 69 

about Bill Fish but liked still less the two 
schools he visited. To accept the tutor seemed 
the lesser of two evils. 

The chief drawback proved that the boys 
were occupied at just the time when the girls 
were free, with the exception of Wednesday, a 
holiday for all. 

The result was that Edith and Frances were 
thrown much together. Frances found it fortu- 
nate that she had a companion of her own age, 
for the island ladies soon called upon Mrs. 
Thayne and drew her into numerous social en- 
gagements. The little community had a strong 
army and navy tinge and naturally welcomed 
Mrs. Thayne. She would have taken far less 
part in the various festivities had she been leav- 
ing her daughter alone, but the two girls proved 
so congenial and Mrs. Thayne was so well satis- 
fied with Edith as a companion for Frances 
that she felt free to indulge her own social in- 
stincts and enjoy the pleasant circle so invit- 
ingly opened. 

Whenever they went out, the girls kept a 
close watch for the "collie lady" and the 
1 * beach dog. ' ' Twice Tylo came to hail them on 
the sands, once apparently entirely alone. The 



7 o THE SPANISH CHEST 

other time he merely greeted them and bounded 
away to rejoin two riders on the road. One 
was his lady, her companion a slender young 
man of distinctly foreign aspect, dark and dis- 
tinguished-looking. Their horses were walking 
slowly, the riders engaged in deep conversation 
and the beach dog's mistress did not see the 
eager faces of the girls. 

They talked a good deal about her, wondering 
who she was, where she lived and whether they 
would ever know her. After seeing her on 
horseback, they fell more and more under the 
spell of her charm and began to picture her the 
heroine of all sorts of stories. 

Day-dreams and romantic stories however, 
had but a small place in a world so busily filled 
with lessons of various kinds. One Tuesday 
evening, Frances was openly groaning over the 
need of writing an essay upon Julius Caesar. 

"Wouldn't you like him better if you saw 
something he did?" inquired Win, hearing her 
lamentations. ' ' There 's a castle in Jersey, part 
of which he built. ' ' 

Fran's eyes opened incredulously and Roger 
whistled. "Is that one of Bill Fish's yarns?" 
he demanded. 



MONT ORGUEIL 71 

1 ' Ante-dates him, ' ' replied Win. ' ' It 's Mont 
Orgueil, over the other side of the island. Let's 
have a picnic there to-morrow, take our lunch 
and stay all day. Mother, you must come. 
Don't say you've promised to make calls.' ' 

"I can go perfectly well," said Mrs. Thayne. 
"Only there is Roger's appointment with the 
dentist in the afternoon. He'll have to keep 
that, but there will be plenty of time for the pic- 
nic if we start early. ' ' 

"Think of having an outdoor picnic in De- 
cember," exclaimed Frances. "We'll take 
Edith, of course. ' ' 

"Of course," assented her mother. "And 
Estelle, if she will go. I wish she would. She 
shuts herself up so closely and seems to shrink 
from seeing people, but perhaps she will go to 
Orgueil just with us. ' ' 

Even Edith could not persuade her sister to 
join the party though Estelle was touched by 
their regret, evidently genuine. 

"If you only would, Star," begged Edith. 
"You would enjoy it. You don't know how 
funny and nice they are to go with. ' ' 

"I couldn't, little sister," said Estelle gently. 
"You go and tell me about it afterwards." 



72 THE SPANISH CHEST 

Edith was not satisfied but all persuasion 
proved useless. She had a vagne idea that Star 
was worried. Just why, Edith did not see, since 
the plan of letting lodgings had come out so 
pleasantly. Everything was going smoothly at 
present; why should Star borrow trouble from 
the future? 

Mont Orgueil is reached by a miniature rail- 
way leading from St. Helier's to the fishing 
village of Gorey. By this time the young people 
were all well accustomed to the absurd little 
narrow gauge tramways with their leisurely 
trains. But if the train into St. Helier's crawled, 
the one to Gorey snailed, to quote Roger. 
Time was ample to note the pretty stuccoed 
houses, pink, cream or brown, with gardens and 
climbing vines that even in December made 
them spots of beauty. They passed under the 
frowning cliffs of Fort Regent and saw several 
lovely turquoise-blue bays with shining sandy 
beaches. Farther on farms succeeded the villas, 
stone farmhouses with tiled or thatched roofs, 
some with orange or other fruit trees trained 
against their southern walls. Suddenly Frances 
rose to her feet. 

"hat on earth are those V she demanded. 



MONT ORGUEIL 73 

"Just look at those cabbages on top of canes." 

The others looked and saw something answer- 
ing exactly to Fran's graphic description. 

1 ' Oh, yes, f ' said Mrs. Thayne, ' ' those are the 
cow cabbages of Jersey. They are common in 
the interior of the island. It's a peculiar kind 
of cabbage growing five or six feet high. The 
farmers pick the leaves on the stalk and leave 
just the head on top. These stalks are made 
into the canes we have seen in shops." 

"I saw them," said Win, " but I didn't real- 
ize what they were. Look, there 's a Jersey cow 
among the cabbages. ' ' 

i ' The Jersey cattle are so pretty, ' ' said Fran- 
ces admiringly. 

' ' They are very valuable, ' ' said Edith. ' ' The 
farmers coddle them like children." 

Gorey proved a picturesque village with many 
schooners and boats of different kinds drawn up 
on the beach and in every direction fish nets 
drying. Above and behind towered the ruined 
castle of Orgueil, rising more than three hun- 
dred feet sheer from the sea. 

Mrs. Thayne sent Eoger to find and engage a 
donkey which Win mounted without protest, 
after one glance at the climb before him, though 



74 THE SPANISH CHEST 

he insisted on swinging the boxes of luncheon 
before him on the little animal's neck. Its 
owner was dismissed, Eoger agreeing to pull 
the beast up the hill. 

Mont Orgueil forms the crest of a lofty coni- 
cal rock and looks down like a grim giant upon 
the blue waters that stretch away to the coast 
of France. Tier after tier the fortifications 
mount the cone, crowned at the apex by a flag- 
staff. 

At the castle entrance, gained after a steady 
climb, a small boy appeared, sent by the castle 
keeper to act as guide. He tied the donkey to 
an iron post and led the way into the interior. 

"This is the oldest part," he began shyly. 
"They do say this tower was built by Julius 
Caesar." 

"Gracious, that's some story!" whistled 
Roger, looking with all his might. 

"I believe it is true," said Mrs. Thayne. 
"Win, you were reading about the castle before 
we started." 

"Yes," said Win. "That's straight about 
Caesar. That's why I wanted Fran to see it. 
And most of the place was built a thousand 
years ago. Is it ever used now?" 



MONT ORGUEIL 75 

"In summer the signal service is quartered 
here, ' ' replied the boy. ' ' This is the well, nine- 
ty feet deep." 

As he spoke, he dropped a pebble over a low 
parapet. Some seconds later came a hollow 
splash. 

The guide showed them a cell where con- 
demned prisoners were once kept, a ruined 
chapel with a very old crypt, and above the 
chapel a room reached by winding stairs. The 
girls entered w T ith a simultaneous shriek of 
delight. 

"What a love of a room!" said Edith. 

"Mother, isn't this too sweet for words?" de- 
manded Frances. 

"This is the Cupola room," explained their 
guide. "Charles the Second stopped here dur- 
ing his exile from England." 

"Prince Charles!" exclaimed Win, his imag- 
ination fired at once. "Oh, I read that in the 
guide book, but this — his room — " 

Win's voice trailed into silence. To read a 
fact in a book was different from standing un- 
der the very roof that had once sheltered bon- 
nie Prince Charlie. He looked about him, try- 
ing to picture to himself those far past days. 



76 THE SPANISH CHEST 

The ceiling rose in a huge dome and one im- 
mense window framed a wonderful view. 
From a little sally-port leading to a platform 
one could look sheer down to the rocks or across 
fourteen miles of tossing water to beautiful 
France. By using a little imagination the 
girls agreed that they could detect the spire 
of the cathedral of Coutances, easily visible in 
clear weather. 

"In the French revolution the governor of 
Jersey signalled to the army of the Vendee by 
means of a flagpole held in place by chains,' ' 
said Mrs. Thayne. 

"Yes," said their small guide. "The 
chains are still on the wall but the pole is new. 
The naval men use it in summer. ' ' 

"Do they sleep here?" asked Win. 

"Down in the chapel, sir." 

"I'd stay here," said Win. "Say, how 
much would you rent this room for?" 

1 ' Three and six a week, sir, with the platform 
thrown in," replied their small guide so grave- 
ly that they all looked to see whether he was 
really in earnest. 

"That's cheap enough, considering the 
view," said Mrs. Thayne, smiling. 



MONT ORGUEIL 77 

Fascinated by the picturesque old castle, 
Win wandered off by himself, deciphering the 
inscriptions placed on the many doors. There 
is no guard in the guard-room, no stores are 
kept in the storeroom, and the chapel never 
hears a sermon save those preached by its own 
stones to those who have ears to hear. But 
the sunlight falling on the green platforms, the 
pigeons cooing on the walls, the blue sea 
stretching to the shining cliffs of France, the 
glamour of old-world romance struck impress- 
ionable Win. Dreamily he recalled that 
whether Caesar built the tower or not, no rea- 
sonable doubt exists that Orgueil was occupied 
if not built by the mighty Prince Rollo, grand- 
father of William the Conqueror. Over the 
main entrance to the castle-keep his coat of 
arms survives the centuries. For centuries to 
come, Orgueil will remain gathering more 
legendary charm as the slow years pass. 

Win shook off the feeling of awe gently 
creeping over him and joined the others, in- 
vestigating a tiny cell where Prynne the Puri- 
tan leader was confined for three years. Eoger 
was immensely impressed by the ruins of a 
secret staircase, connecting a dungeon where 



78 THE SPANISH CHEST 

the criminals were executed, with the keep and 
sally-port. 

1 ' There 's a many secret stairs in the old Jer- 
sey houses," volunteered their guide, noticing 
his interest. 

1 ' Where can we see them 1 ' ' demanded Roger 
at once, but this their small informer could not 
tell. 

"Gentry lives in those houses,' ' he volun- 
teered. "They'se not open to trippers." 

"To what?" demanded Roger. 

"Visitors, strangers like," explained the boy. 

"I like that," said Roger, flushing indig- 
nantly. 

"Hush, Roger," interposed his mother. 
"No offense was meant. What are these 
chains! They seem very old." 

1 ' They were used long time ago to hang crim- 
inals. They do say they put 'em there alive 
and left 'em to the corbies." 

"Corbies? Oh, crows," interpreted Win. 
"Nice custom! Mother, look at the heaps of 
rocks exposed by the tide." 

"There's more this side," said their guide, 
turning a corner of the rampart with Roger 
close at his heels. The rest were about to fol- 



MONT ORGUEIL 79 

low when suddenly Mrs. Thayne gave an ex- 
clamation. 

1 ' Listen !" she said. "That must be a sky- 
lark.' ' 

From somewhere in the blue above fell a rain 
of happy music, so liquid and so sweet that it 
scarcely seemed to come from any earthly bird. 

"Where is it?" asked Frances excitedly, 
peering into the air and dropping on her knees 
the better to look up. Mrs. Thayne did the same 
and both stared into the sky, trying to detect 
the tiny spot of feathered joy, the source of all 
this melody. Presently Edith and Win joined 
them. 

Back around the corner came Roger and the 
guide, both stopping short at sight of the rest 
of the party down on their knees on the daisy- 
starred turf. 

"Whatever are they doing?" ejaculated the 
boy. 

"Oh, it's a skylark!" exclaimed Frances en- 
thusiastically. "Come and see." 

Mouth open in amazement, their small guide 
stood rooted to the spot. "A skylark!" he 
muttered, staring at the four in their attitude 
of devotion. "Lookin' at a skylark!" he re- 



80 THE SPANISH CHEST 

peated as though unable to credit the testimony 
of his own eyes. 

Win burst out laughing and rose to his feet. 
"Take this," he said, producing a shilling. 
"Thank you for showing us about. We'll stay 
a while longer and eat lunch here." 

The boy pocketed the coin and withdrew, his 
face still a picture of incredulous astonishment 
over the actions of this singular and apparently 
insane group of excursionists. At last sight, 
he was still slowly shaking his head and mur- 
muring, "Lookin' at a skylark!" 



CHAPTER VI 



A RACE WITH THE TIDE 



After luncheon, time passed too quickly. Be- 
fore it seemed possible, Mrs. Thayne declared 
the hour had come for Eoger to keep his ap- 
pointment with the dentist in St. Helier's. 

"Let him go alone, Mother,' ' said Win. 
"He's no kid. We want you to stay with us." 

"Of course he could go alone," agreed Mrs. 
Thayne, ' ' but I ought to consult the dentist my- 
self and do an errand or two. There's no rea- 
son why you and the girls should cut short your 
stay. This is a lovely place to spend the after- 
noon and the day too perfect to hurry home. 
Just be back for dinner." 

"Let Roger return the donkey," suggested 
Win. "I sha'n't need him going down hill and 
very likely we shall strike across beyond the 
village. ' ' 

81 



82 THE SPANISH CHEST 

Mrs. Thayne departed, Roger clattering 
ahead on the donkey, and the three were left in 
the meadow by the castle entrance, a meadow 
starred with most fascinating pink-tipped Eng- 
lish daisies. 

"Just see the dears and then think that it's 
really winter/ ' sighed Frances. "I can't be- 
lieve that at home everybody is wearing furs 
and the ground is frozen. It doesn't seem pos- 
sible that Christmas is so near." 

Win was lying flat on the close-cropped turf, 
his attitude indicating that he contemplated a 
nap. After a glance at his prostrate figure, the 
girls wandered to a little distance, seeking the 
pinkest daisies. Presently they were surprised 
by the sudden arrival of a beautiful collie, who 
poked a cold nose into Edith's face. 

"O-oh!" she exclaimed. "Go to Frances. 
She's the one who likes dogs. I prefer nice soft 
little pussy-cats." 

"It's the beach dog," said Frances. "Do 
you suppose his lady is with him?" 

Edith looked eagerly about. The elevated 
castle meadow commanded a rather extended 
view but in no direction was any one visible. 

"I don't see her anywhere. Come here, Tylo. 



A RACE WITH THE TIDE 83 

Oh, Fran, let's read the plate on his collar. 
Perhaps it will have her name. ' ' 

Hot and panting from a run, Tylo willingly 
lay down by the girls and made not the least 
objection to having his collar examined. The 
unusually long plate bore considerable letter- 
ing. 

"Laurel Manor, St. Brelade's," read Frances 
in excitement. "Here's some French, Edith." 

"It's Italian, Fran. i Palazzo Grassi, Via 
Ludovisi, Roma.' Just two addresses and no 
name!" Edith ended in disappointment. 

"Oh, but wait!" exclaimed Frances. The 
light struck the plate at such an angle as to 
make visible to her some additional lettering, 
not engraved but apparently scratched with a 
knife. Though small, the words were extreme- 
ly neat and legible and the girls deciphered 
them eagerly. 

"Connie — her dog. 

"Max — his mark." 

"Her name must be Connie!" Edith declared, 
turning excited eyes upon her companion. 
"Speak, Tylo! Is your mistress called Con- 
stance?" 

Tylo vouchsafed no answer, only pricked his 



84 THE SPANISH CHEST 

ears, hearing something inaudible to the girls. 
The next instant came a distinct though faint 
whistle. 

The beach dog departed at once, tearing down 
over the meadow in a graceful curve to leap a 
hedge into a shady lane beyond. 

"Well, we've learned a little, ' ' sighed Fran- 
ces. "His mistress is called Connie and she 
lives at Laurel Manor. The rest ought to be 
easy. Let's go down to the shore. I want to 
explore that point of rocks.' ' 

"But Win's asleep," said Edith hesitatingly. 
"Ought we to leave him?" 

" It 's all right, ' ' said Frances. ' ' He couldn 't 
scramble on the rocks and it's splendid for him 
to sleep in this fine air. I'll leave a note telling 
him where to look for us." 

Edith supplied a blunt pencil and Fran wrote 
her message on a bit of paper torn from the 
luncheon box, pinning it carefully to her broth- 
er's coat where he could not fail to see it. Then 
they ran down to the cove beyond Orgueil. 

The water, far on the horizon, showed only as 
a gleaming line of light, leaving bare heaps and 
piles of rocks, inextricably turned on end in 
some prehistoric upheaval. In places the rocks 



A RACE WITH THE TIDE 85 

were continuous, in others separated by spaces 
of wet sand. 

Over the rocks grew masses of vari-colored 
seaweed, brown, yellow, blue-green, even pink. 
Footing proved both slippery and treacherous, 
but offered the fascination of exploring an un- 
known region. As they walked farther out, 
curious shell-fish were clinging to the stone. 

" These are ormers and limpets,' ' said Edith. 
"I saw them the day Nurse and I went to 
market. What a huge winkle !" 

Fran stared at this new specimen. "Is that 
a winkle !" she demanded in disgust. "I call 
it a plain snail. Why, all my life, I've read 
about winkles and thought I'd like to eat some 
but I'd die before I'd eat a snail. Oh! Oh! Oh!" 

Edith turned so quickly that she almost fell 
on the slippery weed. Frances was fairly danc- 
ing with excitement, wholly however of pleas- 
ure. 

In the hollowed rock lay a pool of clear sea 
water, at first sight filled with bright-hued 
flowers, pink, purple, orange. The next glance 
showed them to be living organisms. 

"Sea-anemones!" breathed Edith softly. "I 
never saw anything so beautiful." 



86 THE SPANISH CHEST 

The anemones were pulpy brown bodies vary- 
ing in size from a pea to a tomato. From their 
anchorage on the rock they stretched waving 
tentacles of soft iridescent hues, transforming 
the little pool into a marine fairyland. Between 
the anemones a bright yellow lichen-like growth 
almost covered the warm red granite, and tiny 
yellow, rose, and black and white striped snails 
were set like jewels on this background. Two 
or three sharp limpet shells waved feathery 
seaweed fans. 

A long time passed and the girls still lin- 
gered. They discovered that most of the pools 
boasted anemones, some not unlike an ordinary 
land daisy with light-colored tentacles stretch- 
ing ray-shaped from a yellow centre. When 
touched with an empty shell, the anemone would 
close over it, folding both the shell and itself 
into a tight brown ball, then open slowly and 
drop the shell. The only food the girls had 
with them was some sweet chocolate, so they 
experimented with this, watching the lovely 
living sea-flowers seize upon fragments held 
within reach of their feelers. 

"I suppose it will give them frightful pains,' ' 
remarked Frances at last, rising from her 



A RACE WITH THE TIDE 87 

cramped position. * ' Goodness ! the tide is com- 
ing!" 

"Yes, but it's far out," replied Edith, cast- 
ing a glance at the line of water, still distant a 
full half-mile. "Look, Frances, here's a tiny 
pink crab." 

For a moment Frances again bent over the 
aquarium but soon started to her feet. 

"Let's go back, Edith. We're a long way 
from shore and you know how very fast the tide 



i * Oh, is that crab gone f I thought you would 
mind where he went," said Edith as she reluc- 
tantly rose. "I wanted to take him to Win." 

The two began to retrace their way, at first 
over piles of red rock covered with seaweed, 
farther on over stretches of sand surrounding 
rock islands. 

Just as they left the last of the solid rock a 
big wave came curling lazily along its side. For 
a second the water clung to it like fingers, then 
withdrew. 

"Fran, we must run," said Edith quietly, but 
her face had grown pale. 

Frances made no reply. Both ran as fast as 
they could across the stretch of level hard sand. 



88 THE SPANISH CHEST 

Before they reached the first rock island, long 
fingers of foam again darted past at one side. 

Neither girl spoke. Automatically they seized 
hands and redoubled their efforts. One island 
after another was left behind, then Edith, look- 
ing over her shoulder, saw that the tide was 
gaining. Its next incoming heave would over- 
take them. 

"We'll have to climb these rocks !" she 
gasped. 

"No!" said Fran, giving her hand a tug. 
"Keep on. No matter if we do get wet. We 
must get nearer in. These rocks will be cov- 
ered." 

Edith kept pace. They seemed to have 
reached a higher ridge of the beach since pres- 
ently the water, instead of pursuing directly, 
passed on either side, stretching shorewards. 

Too terrified to consider what this would 
mean when the tongues of water should meet 
before them, the girls pressed on blindly. 

Suddenly there came a shout from shore, now 
measurably nearer. Down the beach sped a 
galloping horse, his rider waving to attract 
their attention. 

Fran's quick wits grasped the situation. 



A RACE WITH THE TIDE 89 

"He'll come for us!" she exclaimed. "He 
means us to climb this rock and wait." 

This seemed what the rider meant for as 
they scrambled up the ledge, he ceased to call 
and merely urged his horse to greater effort. 
Edith reached the top without accident, but 
Frances slipped and soaked both feet. 

The horse, a beautiful chestnut thorough- 
bred with tossing mane, came at quick speed. 
In the distance, his rider looked a mere boy, 
but as he approached, the girls saw that he was 
a young man of twenty-three or four, with a 
fine, clean-cut face, who sat his horse as though 
a part of it. 

Arriving by their rock, the chestnut checked 
himself in full gallop and turned almost in his 
stride. 

"Give me your hand," said the young man 
to Edith. "Step on my foot. Swing round 
behind me and hold on any way you can." 

Edith instantly obeyed. "Here," he added 
to Frances, "scramble up in front. Quick! 
There's no time to lose. Steady on, Saracen!" 
he added as the horse jumped and snorted at 
touch of the water curling about his heels. 

They were perhaps a quarter-mile from shore 



9 o THE SPANISH CHEST 

and the return was made at a fast pace, 
yet as they came up above tide mark, the 
waves were lapping the shingle and only a rock 
here and there remained uncovered. 

During the hurried trip the young man had 
spoken only to his horse, words of encourage- 
ment uttered in a pleasant voice, and both girls 
were still too stunned by the sudden peril and 
their equally sudden rescue to realize their 
very unconventional situation; Edith with 
both arms around the stranger, her cheek 
pressed into his shoulder; Fran sitting on the 
saddle-bow, held in position by his left arm 
while his right hand clasped the reins. 

Once in safety, Saracen stopped of his own 
accord, looking around as though, now the hur- 
ry was over, he would like to know what sort 
of unaccustomed load he had been carrying. 

"Right we are!" said the young man cheer- 
ily. "Now I wonder if you can slide down." 

Still speechless, Frances did so. The young 
man swung himself from the saddle and turned 
to lift Edith from her perch as though she was 
a little child. Again on firm ground, she be- 
gan to utter incoherent thanks. 

"I think you must be strangers to the is- 




"He'll come for us! He means us to climb this hock and 
wait."— Page 89. 



A RACE WITH THE TIDE 91 

land," he said rather gravely, "else you would 
know that the Jersey tides come in as rapidly 
as they ebb. This isn't a safe coast to experi- 
ment with." 

"It was the anemones," began Frances. "We 
never saw any before and forgot to watch the 
water. ' ' 

The young man smiled. "Those anemones!" 
he said. "I was once in a similar fix for the 
same reason. Better remember that the only 
safe time to watch sea anemones is when the 
tide is just going out. There's a place up here 
where the farmer's wife is a friend of mine. I 
think you'd better let me take you over to 
Mother Trott and she'll dry you out." 

"I'm not wet," said Edith. "Frances fell, 
that's why she's drippy." 

1 ( Oh, but Win ! ' ' Frances exclaimed. ' < He '11 
find that note saying we're on the rocks and 
he'll see the water and be frightened. My 
brother," she added to the stranger, who was 
looking at her inquiringly. "He's in the 
meadow." 

The young man's clear gray eyes grew rather 
stern. "And what is this brother doing while 
his little sister gets into danger?" he asked. 



92 THE SPANISH CHEST 

' 'Oh, it's not his fault. He was asleep and 
he mustn't be frightened," Fran began. She 
spoke rapidly, her explanation banishing from 
the inquirer's face all look of disapproval. 

"I'll go and tell Win," said Edith. "I'm 
not a bit wet. You go on to the farm, Frances. 
Which house is it?" 

"Do you see the long low one with the vines 
about half a mile up the hill?" replied their 
rescuer. "That's it." 

"If Win's still asleep, for goodness' sake 
don't wake him," directed Frances as Edith set 
off toward the castle. "Perhaps I can get dry 
and be there before he need know whal; has hap- 
pened." 

1 i Would you be willing to ride in front of me 
again, Miss Frances?" asked the young man, 
as Edith vanished around the wall. "We 
could reach the farm much more quickly." 

Without demur, Frances consented. She felt 
queerly shaken and ill and to her consternation, 
as Saracen crossed the highroad and entered 
the farm lane, a sudden burst of sobs overcame 
her. She struggled bravely to control herself. 
"That was a beastly experience," said the 
pleasant voice, "but you were so near shore 



A RACE WITH THE TIDE 93 

when Saracen and I saw you, that you'd prob- 
ably have made it with merely a wetting. ' ' 

"We haven't really thanked you," said Fran- 
ces incoherently. "I do — so much — Mother — " 

"Thank Saracen. He did it. It's nothing 
at all, and you mustn't let it trouble you. 
Hello, Tylo. Been off again on your own ? ' ' 

Obedient to touch, his horse stopped at the 
cottage gate. Frances slid from her. perch and 
the young man dismounted, throwing the reins 
to the beach dog, whose sudden reappearance 
did not surprise nor interest Frances, as ordi- 
narily it would have done. 

"Come round to the back," said her compan- 
ion, opening the gate. "Mother Trott will 
probably be in her kitchen. She'll put you to 
rights in no time. No mess too bad for her to 
take on." 



CHAPTEE VII 



ME. MAX 



Frances accompanied her guide along a peb- 
bled path neatly edged with big scallop-shells 
measuring fully six inches across. Beside the 
walk stretched garden borders still gay with 
geraniums, japonicas and other hardy plants in 
full bloom. As they passed the front door of 
the cottage with its whitewashed steps gleam- 
ing in the afternoon sun, a roughly outlined 
heart surrounding some initials caught Frances ' 
attention. The design was carved in the stone 
top of the door-frame and looked very old. 

" That's a pretty custom of the island," said 
her companion, noticing Fran's glance. "The 
people who first made a home had their initials 
cut over the door. Many of the Jersey farm- 
houses have several sets of initials on the door- 
stones." 

94 



MR. MAX 95 

Around the corner of the house lay a neat 
kitchen garden full of vegetables in thrifty 
green rows, a patch of the curious cabbages and 
in a field just over a fence, was tethered a 
pretty, soft-eyed Jersey cow. Beside the 
entrance stood a bench glittering with shiny 
copper pails and milk-cans. 

Without stopping to knock, the young man 
stepped directly into a clean, low-ceiled kitchen, 
where white sand was scattered on the stone 
floor. 

"Are you there, Mrs. Trott?" he inquired. 

Hastily setting down the pan of potatoes she 
was peeling, a pleasant-looking stout woman 
rose to her feet with a curtsy. 

"If it isn't Mr. Max!" she exclaimed, her 
voice expressing both surprise and delight. 

' ' And as usual seeking help, Mrs. Trott. This 
young lady, Miss Frances, has been unlucky 
enough to be overtaken by the tides — " 

"Poor dear!" interrupted Mrs. Trott. 
"Bess!" she called, "come you down. Ah, 'tis 
the tides that make the Jersey heartaches. Ye 
did quite right to bring her, Mr. Max. Bess, 
be quick!" 

A rosy-cheeked girl of seventeen came clat- 



96 THE SPANISH CHEST 

tering down the tiny stair, to smile at the visi- 
tors and drop an awkward, blushing curtsy 
to each. 

"Why, Bess, you're quite grown up," said 
the young man, smiling back at her. 

"A year does make a differ, sir," said Mrs. 
Trott. "Lead the young leddy up the stair, 
Bess, and dry her feet and give her your Sunday 
socks and shoon. Mr. Max, you'll drink tea? 
Sure, now, and taste my fresh wonders. The 
young leddy '11 be down directly and a cup of 
tea will set her up." 

"Indeed, I could do with some tea, Mrs. Trott, 
and I've not had any wonders since — " 

Frances did not hear the end of the sentence 
for she was following Bess up the narrow, 
winding stone stairs to emerge in a little room 
with slanting eaves and dormer windows in its 
thatched roof. The place was bare but spot- 
lessly clean and through the open western case- 
ment shimmered the blue sea. 

"Sit down, Miss," said Bess in a soft voice 
with curious musical intonations that made up 
for imperfect pronunciation. 

With a sigh of relief, Prances sank into the 
straight chair. The reaction from her late ad- 



MR. MAX 97 

venture was still upon her. Before she knew 
what was happening, Bess approached with a 
basin of water and a towel, and knelt to un- 
fasten the soaked shoes. 

"Oh, I can do that for myself," Frances pro- 
tested with the independence of an American 
girl. 

"Sit ye still, Miss," said Bess pleasantly. 
' ' "lis bad for the nerves to race the tides. It 
shakes one a good bit. ' ' 

Her deft fingers made short work of their 
task. Presently, Frances was comfortable in 
white cotton stockings and black slippers far 
too large and wide. 

"Twill serve," said Bess, smiling at the 
way they slid around on Fran's slender feet. 
"Dry at least. Now come ye down and drink 
your tea. 'Tis not lately we've seen Mr. Max. 
Mother '11 be rarely pleased." 

Frances had it on her tongue 's end to inquire 
into the identity of her rescuer, but the diffi- 
culty of keeping on those heavy leather shoes 
with their big silver buckles distracted her at- 
tention. She came carefully down the stair to 
find Mr. Max seated on the big black oak settle, 
his hat and riding-crop beside him and Mrs. 



98 THE SPANISH CHEST 

Trott arranging her table before the fire. 

"Come, Miss, to your tea," she exclaimed. 
"Bess, fetch the cream." 

Frances tried to protest, feeling already 
nnder great obligations to these total stran- 
gers, but Mr. Max promptly rose to give her a 
seat. 

"Tea will do you good, Miss Frances," he 
said with a most engaging smile. "Try Mrs. 
Trott 's wonders. Have you ever eaten a Jersey 
wonder?" 

1 ' It looks like a doughnut, ' ' said Frances, tak- 
ing a fried cake from the proffered plate. 

A sudden, mischievous grin crossed the young 
man's face. "A plain New England doughnut 
disguised by an old-world name, ' ' he said. 

"New England!" repeated Frances, stopping 
with the cake halfway to her mouth. ' ' How do 
you know about New England doughnuts ? ' ' 

Mr. Max seated himself, looking boyishly 
amused. 

"'Land where our fathers died, 
Land of the Pilgrims' pride/ " 

he quoted, seriously enough but with gray eyes 

dancing with fun. "Oh, I know the whole 

thing. Shall we sing it together?" 



MR. MAX 99 

"Are you really an American !" Frances de- 
manded in utter amazement "Then how — 
what — You don't talk — But that accounts 
for it" 

She stopped, feeling suddenly shy of question- 
ing him. "Well," she added after a second, 
"that's the reason I didn't feel a bit strange 
about coming with you. It seemed all right — 
just as though you were somebody I knew." 

"Thank you, Miss Frances," said her com- 
panion. ' l That is a very lovely way to express 
your appreciation. Yes, we are fellow-coun- 
trymen, though I have spent much of my life in 
Europe. In fact, my first visit to the United 
States was when I was around your age. Since 
then I've put in four years at Yale and one in 
Washington. Now, I'm attached to the Amer- 
ican Embassy in Paris and came over here to 
spend the Christmas holidays with old friends. 
Jersey has seen me many times before this. 
That's how I happen to know about the sea 
anemones and the tides." 

Mrs. Trott came bustling back with jam, fol- 
lowed by Bess with a covered jar. "And how's 
Miss Connie?" she inquired. 

"She seems very well," replied Mr. Max. 



ioo THE SPANISH CHEST 

"Your tea is as good as ever, Mrs. Trott. 
Clotted cream, Bess? You know my weak 
spots, don't you?" 

"They do be saying that the Colonel fails 
since his lady died," went on Mrs. Trott, re- 
garding her table anxiously. "Couldn't you 
fancy an egg now, Mr. Max, or a bit of bacon?" 
as he raised a protesting hand. 

Frances also declined. She did not feel 
hungry but after Mrs. Trott had brought water 
to dilute the strong tea, she drank it willingly. 

Neither did Mr. Max eat enough to satisfy his 
hostess. After a few moments he rose and 
looked at his watch. 

"I think I'll ride over to the Manor and 
exchange Saracen for another horse and the 
trap and give myself the pleasure if I may, 
Miss Frances, of driving you and the others 
back to St. Aubin's. Your boots will hardly 
be dry for you to wear on the train. I'd really 
like to do so," he added, seeing that Frances 
looked disturbed. "You know it is the busi- 
ness of the American Embassy to look after its 
fellow countrymen in a foreign land, so this is 
only my plain duty." 

"Best let him, Miss," said Mrs. Trott ap- 



MR. MAX 101 

provingly. "Mr. Max do always take thought 
for others. But where happens Miss Connie 
to-day!" 

"Oh, Miss Connie's gone to a tea-fight of 
some kind," replied Mr. Max, giving Frances 
another mischievous glance. "She said I 
couldn't go, so I annexed her dog and her 
father's horse and went out on my own. I 
shall be back before long." 

Frances gave an anxious thought to Edith, 
concluded that she probably found Win asleep 
and was following instructions not to wake him. 
This conjecture proved correct for Edith soon 
came hurrying down the path. 

i ' I took the first note and left one saying we 
were at this cottage," she explained. "Are 
you all right, Fran? Do you think you've 
caught a chill? " 

Frances explained that they were to be 
driven home and Mrs. Trott pressed tea and 
wonders upon Edith, who accepted both grate- 
fully. 

" Is it far to the Manor — to where Mr. Max is 
going?" Frances inquired of Mrs. Trott. 

"Not for a good horse, Miss, though 'tis be- 
yond St. Aubin's. I'm thinking you must have 



102 THE SPANISH CHEST 

marked the place, a big old stone house with 
many a laurel tree about it and open to the 
cliffs beyond." 

1 i Oh, we know it, ' ' said Fran eagerly. ' i There 
are iron gates with a coat of arms and the 
grounds are lovely.' ' 

"That's Laurel Manor, Miss," assented Mrs. 
Trott. 

The girls looked at each other in delight. 
In one afternoon they had learned where lived 
the mistress of the beach dog and what her 
name. 

a >rj^ g g 00 d to lay eyes on Mr. Max again," 
Mrs. Trott went on. "A pity he and Miss 
Connie couldn't content themselves with each 
other. 'Tis not to our liking to have our young 
leddy takin' up with a foreign prince." 

"Oh, please tell us about it," demanded 
Frances. "We met Miss Connie on the beach 
and we think she's perfectly lovely. Is she 
really to marry a prince 1 ' ' 

"He's not a prince of a royal house," replied 
Mrs. Trott. "He's an Eyetalian and in that 
country, they tell me, there's a different kind 
of royalty. I don't rightly know, Miss, but 
I'm thinking they are Romish princes." 



MR. MAX 103 

"Is Miss Connie marrying a Catholic ?" in- 
quired Edith in great interest. 

"That's the question/ ' said Mrs. Trott, re- 
flectively resting both hands on the table. "I 
could see Mr. Max didn't want to talk, but we 
hear considerable through the housekeeper at 
the Manor. This young man that they say Miss 
Connie's tokened to is the son of one of these 
princes. But his mother was an English- 
woman and a Protestant and so when two boys 
had been baptized as Catholics, the third son, — - 
Miss Connie's young man, — was brought up in 
his mother's faith, our English church. 

"I suppose," Mrs. Trott went on meditat- 
ively, "they thought he'd never succeed to his 
father's title and position, bein' the third son. 
But the oldest, Prince Santo-Ponte, or some title 
like that, was killed in a motor mishap — they 
say he was racin' something shameful, — and 
soon the next brother died of pneumonia. So 
that leaves the Protestant son the heir. And 
the story is that he 's to be made to turn Cath- 
olic." 

"But they can't make him if he won't," pro- 
tested the shocked Edith. Both she and Fran- 
ces were listening eagerly to this romantic 



io 4 THE SPANISH CHEST 

story. Their wildest flights of imagination 
concerning Miss Connie fell short of the truth, 
— if this was truth. 

"I don't know, Miss, I don't know," said 
Mrs. Trott doubtfully. "Turn the young 
leddy's boots, Bess, — don't ye scent the smell 
o' scorchin'? 'Tis hard on the poor fellow. 
There's his father urgin' him to do it for the 
sake of the family, and there's a title and a 
great fortune waitin' when he does. They'll 
be tellin' him it's his duty as they tell't the 
Princess Alix, own granddaughter of Queen 
Victoria, when she married with the Czar of 
all the Russias. 'Twas the Greek church she 
went over to." 

"But will Miss Connie marry the prince if 
he does give up his own church 1 ' ' asked Edith 
eagerly. 

Again Mrs. Trott shook her head. "There's 
no mention of any weddin'," she admitted, 
"and it may be they're not even tokened, but 
the prince has been visitin' a sight of times at 
the Manor. Now, I'm thinkin' it's a good sign 
Mr. Max is here again. The Colonel, Miss Con- 
nie 's father, loves him like a son. Why, he 
and Miss Connie grew up together, brother and 



MR. MAX 105 

sister- wise. The way of it was that Mr. Max's 
mother died when he was but a tiny and Mrs. 
Lisle, Miss Connie's mother, about took him 
for her own. He's fair lived with them. Many's 
the time he and Miss Connie have run in here 
for their tea or to dry their feet. You see I 
was parlor-maid at the Manor before I married 
Trott. That was when Mr. Richard was living 
Miss Connie's brother. He was near fifteen 
years older and he died in South Africa, poor 
lad! Ah, when he was killed it nigh broke the 
Colonel's heart. Well, I've often helped out 
at the Manor when extra service was needed. 
Far rather would I see Miss Connie wedded to 
Mr. Max." 

"But how did Miss Connie happen to know 
the prince?" asked Frances. 

"In Rome. Till her mother died, they spent 
part of every winter there, but the Colonel 
can't bear the place now and they stop here 
the season. I keep hopin' Mr. Max will get her 
yet. Such a pretty well-mannered boy he al- 
ways was and never above passin' a friendly 
word with us all. 

"I suppose," Mrs. Trott concluded, "when 
you come to think of it, Mr. Max is a foreigner, 



106 THE SPANISH CHEST 

too, but the best I can say is that he's just like 
an honest English gentleman.' ' 

Frances flushed, choking back a hot com- 
ment. She had so quickly felt a bond of kin- 
ship with this young American. Yet, in spite 
of her momentary anger, she realized that Mrs. 
Trott was paying the highest compliment in her 
power. Well, pride in her own country could 
teach Frances to value like loyalty in another. 

4 'What is his other name!" she inquired. 

"I couldn't rightly tell you, Miss. He was 
but a wee lad when he first came to the Manor. 
He calls the Colonel, uncle, and we forget he 
isn't really of the family. Yet his father has 
been here, too. He's famous for something 
very wise indeed. Could I speak the name, you 
might know, for he's well-spoken of outside our 
island. ' ' 

At this moment, Win appeared, strolling up 
the lane and looking annoyed to find the girls 
so far in the opposite direction from the rail- 
way. Nor did his vexation lessen on hearing 
their adventures, softened and smoothed though 
the version was. In fact, self -controlled Win 
was inclined to be decidedly cross and to dis- 
approve emphatically acceptances of further 



MR. MAX 107 

favors from a stranger. Fran was still argu- 
ing when a smartly-appointed trap drawn by 
a shiny horse turned into the lane. 

"Now, you can see for yourself/ ' declared 
Fran. "He's an American and a gentleman 
and it's all right for us to let him drive us 
home. ,, 

" As if we couldn 't hire a carriage in Gorey, } ' 
Win retorted, but with a second glance at the 
driver, his attention was distracted. 

"Oh-h!" he said in perplexity, "that's the 
fellow who was in the Royal Square that morn- 
ing. Now, where in the wide world have I 
seen him before?" 

Thinking hard, Win stared with puckered 
brows. Suddenly his face cleared. "Why, 
he's that young chap Father introduced me to 
the time he took me to Washington," he said 
accusingly to Fran. "Why didn't you tell 
me?" 

"How on earth could I know?" demanded 
Fran, but her brother had turned with a smile 
to greet the trap just drawing up by the gate. 
Mr. Max looked at Win with a puzzled glance 
which gradually changed to a look of recogni- 
tion. 



108 THE SPANISH CHEST 

"I do know you, don't I?" he said. "Well, 
I never suspected when I was detailed to enter- 
tain Captain Thayne's son for an hour or so, 
that we 'd meet again in Gorey village. Why, 
that makes us old friends!" 

Win grasped the cordially offered hand and 
having bestowed Edith and Frances in the seat 
behind, climbed up beside Max, his face beam- 
ing. With many thanks to Mrs. Trott and 
promises to come again, they drove off. 

"Hasn't this been the most exciting after- 
noon?" Frances confided to Edith. ''We've 
learned the collie lady's name and met the 
boy she told us of, and heard about her Ital- 
ian prince. Look at Win! He's crushed on 
Mr. Max r — I can tell by the way he's looking 
at him. I should think Miss Connie would 
much rather marry an American." 

"Perhaps he hasn't asked her," said Edith 
sensibly. ' ' Perhaps, if she really is engaged to 
the prince, she did it before Mr. Max came back 
from America and he couldn't help himself 
because it was too late." 

Max 's back did not look as though it belonged 
to a specially unhappy person and the expres- 
sion of his face as he talked pleasantly with 



MR. MAX 109 

Win was not that of a young man whose en- 
joyment in life has been seriously darkened, 
but it pleased the girls to fancy him as a blight- 
ed being, so keenly had Mrs. Trott's rather in- 
judicious confidences appealed to their youthful 
ideas of romance. 



CHAPTER Vni 

RICHARD LISLE 'S LETTER 

"Why, I 'ye met Miss Lisle several times,' ' 
said Mrs. Thayne after hearing Fran's account 
of the exciting end of the picnic. "She's a 
charming girl and her father is the finest type 
of an English gentleman. At the lawn party 
this afternoon she spoke of meeting two girls on 
the beach and asked if one wasn't my 
daughter. " 

"Oh, I do hope I can know her," said Frances 
happily. "I think she's the sweetest thing I 
ever saw. But, Mother, do you suppose what 
Mrs. Trott said about her and the Italian 
prince is true?" 

"That was a bit of gossip which Mrs. Trott 
should not have repeated to girls of your age, ' ' 
commented her mother, "but since you have 
heard it, I suppose it will do no harm to say 

110 



RICHARD LISLE'S LETTER in 

that Prince Santo-Ponte undoubtedly does visit 
at the Manor, though I do not believe that any 
engagement exists between him and Miss Lisle. 
As for Mr. Max, as you call him, his father is 
Professor Rodney Hamilton, the noted scientist. 
Max has been much with the Lisles and to all 
purposes is the son of the house." 

* * The day when I really meet Miss Connie will 
be the happiest of my life," declared Frances 
solemnly. Later, her amused mother learned 
that Edith was equally smitten. 

In his quiet way, Win was most anxious to see 
more of Max and it was partly with this wish 
in mind that he set off one morning shortly after 
the picnic at Orgueil, to stroll on the road lead- 
ing past the Manor. On so pleasant a day he 
might encounter the young people riding or 
walking. 

When Win reached the Manor gates, no one 
was in sight, and he sauntered past, not caring 
to intrude on private grounds. One longing 
glance he cast at the chimneys above the laur- 
els, twelve that he could count from that angle. 
What a rambling old structure the Manor house 
must be ! Surely in its existence stretching back 
through the centuries, many interesting things 



ii2 THE SPANISH CHEST 

had happened under that roof. What fun it 
would be to try to find them out ! 

Absorbed in pleasant thought, Win walked 
farther than he realized, lured by the blue sea 
and a most interesting little church almost on 
the water's edge. The doors proved locked, 
but Win resolved to come again when he could 
gain admittance, for from outward appearance 
the building was extremely old. 

On turning, Win was soon aware that he had 
overtaxed his strength and was in no shape to 
walk to St. Aubin's. Pleasant as the sky still 
was, a strong sea breeze had risen, bringing dif- 
ficulties for a person who required very fav- 
orable conditions for any prolonged exercise. 
Only slow progress was possible and when he 
again reached the iron gates of the Manor, he 
was really too tired to go on. Choosing the 
sunny slope of the hedge, he sat down to rest. 

Before long, voices approached on the other 
side of the laurels, voices speaking in French, 
and Max came through the arch, accompanied 
by a gardener carrying tools. 

1 i Why, Win, ' ' he said. ' ' You 're not stopping 
at the gate, I hope. The house is just beyond." 

Win smiled. i ' I sat down to get my breath, ' ' 



RICHARD LISLE'S LETTER 113 

he explained. "I've been for a stroll and the 
wind knocked me about a trifle.' ' 

Max looked at him keenly. "It's a bit cool 
to stop there,' ' he said. "Come up to the 
house. We'll slip into the library and you can 
rest properly." 

Win demurred, thinking he would detain Max 
from his business. 

"Uncle only asked me to direct Pierre about 
some planting around the cottages," Max re- 
plied. He added some words in French to his 
companion, who nodded and struck off toward 
the shore. "I'll not stop for you," Max went 
on, taking Win's arm. "There isn't a person 
at home, and you will have the library to your- 
self." 

Win yielded at once. Aside from the pleas- 
ure of seeing Max again, the suggestion of books 
acted as a magnet. 

They crossed the beautiful Manor lawn, — 
green as in June, — not toward the main en- 
trance but in the direction of some big French 
windows opening on the terrace. The case- 
ment yielded to Max's touch and the two entered 
a room that would have made Win gasp with 
pleasure had he been less exhausted. He re- 



1 1 4 THE SPANISH CHEST 

ceived only the impression of spacious beauty 
and countless books, as lie was established on 
a big old settle beside a fireplace where cheery 
flames were flashing. Before he knew precisely 
what was happening, Win found himself tucked 
among comfortable cushions. 

1 ' There, go to sleep now, ' ' said Max, flinging 
over him a soft blue Italian blanket. "I've an 
idea this thing belongs in Connie's room, but 
since she left it here we will make use of it. 
There's no one at home and the only person 
likely to come is Yvonne, one of the maids. If 
she appears to look after the fire, just tell her 
you are my friend. ,, 

Max departed and Win soon fell into a rev- 
erie. He did not sleep immediately but as his 
physical discomfort lessened under the influ- 
ence of rest and quiet, he began to look about 
him. 

The three rooms composing the library were 
very high and opened into one another by 
arches. From floor to ceiling the books climbed, 
rank on rank, on the upper shelves in double 
tiers, in some places overflowing window seats. 
Narrow stained-glass casements threw pleasant 
patches of color on the polished floor. Age had 



RICHARD LISLE'S LETTER 115 

blackened the oak ceiling and the handsome 
wall paneling where books did not conceal it. 
Here and there hung portraits, evidently of the 
family, judging from certain recurring resem- 
blances. Their quaint costumes dated from the 
days of the Stuart kings. 

The utter quiet of the place, the time-faded 
bindings, the old pictures, the spots of crimson 
and blue light, the faint odor of leather, mingled 
with the scent of fresh flowers from some in- 
visible source, all had their effect upon Win, 
who sank into a state of mind where he was 
neither awake nor quite asleep. His last 
wholly conscious thought was for the curious 
coat of arms above the fireplace, a shield that 
bore the date 1523. 

An hour later, Win came to full consciousness 
and at the same time to a sense of familiarity 
with his surroundings. ' ' Of all queer things ! ' ' 
he thought as he sat up and looked around him. 
"The first day I was in Jersey I dreamed of 
this room or of some room like it. That man 
up there in the picture is mighty like the old 
Johnny that was around. IVe been dreaming 
about him now, only I can't remember what." 

Try as he might, Win could not recall that 



n6 THE SPANISH CHEST 

dream, a fantastic jumble of persons and an im- 
pression, almost painful, of a fruitless search. 

1 ' This is a house where anything might have 
happened,' ' his thoughts ran. "How I wish I 
could have a chance at these books !" 

Shelves framed even the ancient fireplace, 
their contents within easy reach of Win's settle. 
His eye ran idly along the titles, a History of 
the World, an edition of Defoe, some old hour- 
books. Tucked in with these were two volumes 
of very modern philosophy, their bright cloth 
bindings looking curiously out of place. With 
their exception, nothing in sight looked less 
than a century old and examination proved most 
to be even older. Many bore marks of owner- 
ship by Lisles dead and gone. 

His enthusiasm thoroughly aroused, Win ex- 
amined volume after volume, lingering over the 
quaint bookplates. Finally he took down a 
book unlettered on the back, but with a rubbed 
leather binding that showed marks of use. It 
proved a very old copy of the Psalms, a book 
that some one had once read often, for its pages 
were worn not only by time but by constant 
turning. 

Opening to the front, Win searched for a 



RICHARD LISLE'S LETTER 117 

bookplate. There was none, but in fine hand- 
writing appeared: "Richard Lisle His Valued 
Book." As Win replaced the volume a paper 
slipped from its pages. 

Picking it up, he glanced idly at the single 
sheet which seemed a page perhaps lost from 
some letter written long before, possibly a leaf 
from a diary. The penmanship was like the 
autograph in the Psalter, the ink, though faded, 
perfectly legible on the yellowed paper. 

The extract began in the middle of a sen- 
tence. Win, who started to decipher it from 
mere curiosity, ended by reading it five or six 
times. It ran as follows : 

"having fed my Prince and Eased him after his hard 
Flight we took Counsel anent his Refuge. 

"That he should lye at ye Manor looked not wise. Ye 
Castel seemed ye better Place. 

"Lest he be curiously viewed of Many we did furnishe 
Other garb and a Strong Bigge Cloake. And those who 
knew did safely lead him through ye Towne. 

"Ye honoured Relicks my Sonne and I did place in ye 
Spanish Chest and convey by Lantern light to that safe 
Place beyond ye Walls. So shall they Reste till hap- 
pier Times shall Dawne. 

"Strange that this Day should bring such Honour to 
Mine House." 

Win's eyes grew interested and excited as 

he studied this message from the past. For 

whom was it meant and why had it lain all 



n8 THE SPANISH CHEST 

these years in the old Psalter? Did the Manor 
family know of its existence? The prince, the 
castle, the town, mentioned by a Lisle of Laurel 
Manor, must refer to events of island history. 

After thinking a few minutes, Win drew out 
his notebook and made a careful copy. Surely 
that was not abusing Max's hospitality and 
could do no harm. If he discovered anything 
interesting in looking up the matter in some 
history of Jersey at the public library, he would 
share his knowledge. Or there surely must be 
books of that kind here at the Manor. Perhaps 
he would be permitted to come again and in- 
vestigate this fascinating room more thor- 
oughly. He wished he knew Max better. If he 
only did, he could show his find at once and ask 
for an opinion. Well, that might come later. 
Anyway, it would be great fun to study the 
enigmatic paper and see what he could make 
of it. 

When Max came quietly a few minutes later, 
Win made no mention of his discovery. Sur- 
prised to find it so late, he thanked his host, 
and declared himself entirely fit to walk back 
to Rose Villa. 

1 ' Come again,' ' said Max as they parted at 



RICHARD LISLE'S LETTER 119 

the gates. "I know you liked the library and 
that will please Uncle Dick. You must come 
when he's at home and he'll show you all his 
special treasures." 

Win went on with a happy face. That meant 
he would certainly have another opportunity 
to browse in that fascinating old book-room, 
and perhaps become so well acquainted with the 
Manor family that he could share his puzzle 
with somebody who would be equally interested 
in finding out what it meant. 



CHAPTER IX 

CHRISTMAS IN JERSEY 

Fran's " happiest day'' soon dawned, for not 
long after the Orgueil picnic, she and Edith 
were walking down one of Jersey's lovely lanes. 
Enclosed by high ivy-covered earthen banks, 
it ran, a straight white road between green 
walls, and so narrow that at regular intervals, 
little bays were provided that carriages might 
pass. Evergreen oaks, often growing from the 
banks themselves, and drooping vines made the 
lane a bower of beauty even on a December 
afternoon. The girls had stopped to admire 
the old Norman gateway leading to Vinchelez 
Manor, when suddenly around a corner, bounced 
the beach dog. Close behind came Constance 
Lisle and Maxfield Hamilton. 

" We've been to call on your respective 
mother and sister, ' ' declared Connie, i ' and were 

120 



CHRISTMAS IN JERSEY 121 

desolated not to find the little ladies. What 
luck to meet you ! Max, you don 't need an in- 
troduction, do you, after playing Lord Lochin- 
var with both girls at once?" 

At this sweeping characterization, they all 
laughed and walked along together, Tylo gal- 
loping ahead or falling behind as his sweet will 
led. 

"I'm giving a treat to the Sunday-school 
children after Christmas, ' ' Connie confided, as 
at the end of a brisk walk, they came to the 
parting of the ways. "I should like you girls, 
if you will, to help me with the kiddies. The 
brothers are invited too, if they would fancy it. ,, 

"Win would like to help," Frances said 
quickly, her face lighted with pleasure at this 
request. "He's very good at things like that, 
but Roger's only twelve, you know." 

"Oh, Eoger can hand buns," said Connie 
at once. "No harm if he does tread on a few. 
I shall count on you then next week Thursday, 
three days after Christmas. Take care not to 
stir abroad on Christmas eve for that 's when the 
Jersey witches hold their meeting at the rock up 
by St. Clement's." 

She waved a laughing adieu and the girls 



122 THE SPANISH CHEST 

went back to Rose Villa, bubbling over with 
pleasure and anticipation. 

It was fortunate for Frances that she did have 
this expectation of a visit to the Manor to buoy 
her spirits, for the season scarcely seemed 
Christmas. Warm weather and plentiful 
flowers did not appeal to one accustomed to the 
holiday in wintry Boston, but not the weather 
alone disturbed Fran. For some foolish reason 
she disliked intensely the differences of celebra- 
tion that marked this holiday in another land. 
Her state of mind both worried and distressed 
Mrs. Thayne. 

"Why, little daughter, don't you see the fun 
of having Christmas under strange conditions ? ' ' 
she asked one evening, when she went to investi- 
gate a sound of woe from Fran's room. 

"No, I don't see any fun in it," replied 
Frances stubbornly. "I could stand Thanks- 
giving, even though I had to go to school, be- 
cause Miss Estelle knew it was an important 
day to us and had a turkey for dinner and put 
little American flags around. But Christmas 
here in St. Aubin's, without Father, is too 
impossible. ' ' 

Mrs. Thayne was silent for a moment. Then 



CHRISTMAS IN JERSEY 123 

she sat down on the bed and took Frances in 
her arms. 

"Listen, now," she said. "I want you to 
think about somebody else for a moment. 
There's Edith. Just remember how sad this 
season must be for her and Estelle. Yet 
Estelle goes about with a smiling face that gives 
me a heartache because her eyes are so pitiful. 
She's planning hard to make things pleasant for 
us and to have it seem Christmas to Edith. I 
know some of her plans, Fran. Then, even if 
Father isn't with us, we know he is well and 
that it is only a question of time before the 
Philadelphia is where we can be nearer. Win 
is always self-controlled and naturally he and 
Roger don't miss the home conditions as you do, 
but their enjoyment is going to depend largely 
upon their sister. Why, Fran, you usually like 
new experiences and here they are looming 
thick and fast." 

"That's just the trouble," sobbed Fran. "I 
don't want them all piled on top of Christmas. 
I want to be with Grandmother and the cousins. 
I can't believe it is Christmas when it's so 
green and so hot." 

"Many nice things are going to happen," her 



i2 4 THE SPANISH CHEST 

mother went on. l ' Just think what fun you and 
Edith will have helping Miss Connie with her 
school treat. You are going to find that very 
English." 

Frances smiled. "Oh, I won't be a pig, 
Mother," she said at last. "Miss Connie is a 
dear and of course we must make the boys have 
a nice time." 

"The climate agrees so well with Win that 1 
am very thankful to spend Christmas here," re- 
plied Mrs. Thayne. "To-morrow, Nurse is go- 
ing into town to the French market and I think 
you will like to go with her. ' ' 

Win and Edith joined the marketing expedi- 
tion next morning and even Frances was im- 
pressed with the holiday spirit overhanging the 
place. They left Nurse carefully inspecting fat 
geese in a poulterer's stall and started to ex- 
plore. 

Any number of plump chickens and ducks 
hung about, together with little pigs. decorated 
by blue rosettes on their ears, a touch that 
struck Win as extremely funny. In the vege- 
table market were heaped huge piles of pota- 
toes, scrubbed till their pink skins shone, great 
ropes of red onions braided together by their 



CHRISTMAS IN JERSEY 125 

dried tops, turnips, artichokes, garlic, winter 
squashes, white and purple cabbages, celery and 
egg plant and many varieties of greens and 
early vegetables. The stalls themselves were 
prettily arranged and fragrant with nice smells 
but their keepers were the great attraction. 
Many were in charge of old women dressed in 
white peasant caps and clean starched aprons 
above full wool skirts and wooden sabots. Lit- 
tle tow-headed grandchildren, comical replicas 
in miniature, smiled shyly or dropped bobbing 
curtsy s as the girls stopped to speak. 

Fruit stalls proved even more fascinating 
with the hothouse grapes, red, white, and dark 
purple, showing a hazy bloom. Fresh figs and 
dates abounded, alternating with baskets of 
Italian chestnuts and oranges, forty for a shil- 
ling. Every stall seemed to have vied in deco- 
rations with its neighbor, being bowers of myr- 
tle and laurestinus. One sported a shield show- 
ing three leopards in daffodils against a green 
background. 

"Look at the English coat of arms," said 
Frances, catching sight of it. 

"That's not English " said Edith. "Those 



i26 THE SPANISH CHEST 

are the leopards of Jersey, the old Norman in- 
signia." 

"I can't understand, ' ' observed Frances as 
they sauntered on, "why, when Jersey belongs 
to England, it has a different coat of arms and 
government and every thing. ' ' 

"Because the islands are all little self-gov- 
erning communities, ' ' supplied Win. "It's a 
privilege they have always had, and even Eng- 
land wouldn't dare take it from them now. 
Jersey is desperately jealous of Guernsey. They 
say that even a Jersey toad will die if it is 
taken to Guernsey." 

"Neither will Guernsey flowers blossom 
here," Edith added. "Oh, there's Miss Con- 
nie!" 

The little lady of Laurel Manor was standing 
before one of the flower-stalls, chatting in 
French with a very clean, rosy-cheeked old 
woman in a white cap. Behind Constance stood 
a servant carrying a basket and as the girls 
watched she purchased an enormous bunch of 
daffodils, a sheaf of calla lilies, and a quantity 
of narcissus. 

"Isn't she sweet in that soft green suit," 
commented Edith admiringly. 



CHRISTMAS IN JERSEY 127 

Turning from the stall, Connie saw and 
hailed them. "Have you seen the fish- 
market V* she asked after greeting them gayly. 
4 'Oh, you must not miss that. I always go 
there." 

She led them past a long bench where sat 
several nice white-capped old women beside 
huge baskets of spotlessly washed eggs or round 
rolls of fresh, unsalted butter wrapped in cool 
green cabbage leaves. Some of them nodded 
and smiled and once Connie stopped to ask after 
a sick child. Everybody spoke in French and 
seemed most kind and cordial. 

Arrived at the fish-market, conger eels as big 
as "Win's wrist, and four or five feet long, crabs 
two feet across the shells, lobsters blue rather 
than green, enormous scallops, huge stacks of 
oysters, cockles and snails, the so-called winkles, 
greeted the astonished eyes of the young peo- 
ple. In other directions were heaped piles of 
smelts, plaice and unknown fish. 

"These are what I dote on," said Constance, 
calling their attention to piles of tiny crabs, 
neatly tied by the claws into bunches. Most 
were alive, but owing to the fact that all chose 
to walk in different directions, the bunches re- 



i 2 8 THE SPANISH CHEST 

mained fairly stationary. One might purchase 
two, four, six or a dozen, according to the size 
of one's appetite. 

"I'm so glad we met," said Connie, when in 
addition they had made the round of the flower 
market and exclaimed over its treasures of 
color and fragrance. "I thought of you this 
morning and wondered if you young people 
wouldn 't like to help decorate the church. There 
are never too many helpers and we have- ordered 
such lovely greens and flowers. Several of us 
are to be at the church at two this afternoon 
and you'll be very welcome if you care to come. 
It's pretty work and we always have a nice 
time. ' ' 

"Indeed, we should like to help/' said 
Frances promptly. "Is it Mr. Angus's church 
at St. Aubin's?" 

"No, the one I mean is a tiny stone church 
not far beyond the Manor. Just take the high- 
road inland from- the village and turn once to 
the left." 

' ' Oh, I know, ' ' said Win quickly. ' ' It stands 
almost on the shore." 

"That's it," said Connie. "I'll expect you 
then." 



CHRISTMAS IN JERSEY 129 

Win declared himself quite equal to helping 
with the decorations that afternoon. When 
they arrived, the beach dog lay in the porch, 
thumping his tail by way of welcome, so they 
knew his mistress was already within. For a 
few moments, the three lingered to look at the 
quaint French inscriptions on the churchyard 
stones, but finally entered rather shyly. They 
were not given one moment to feel themselves 
strangers. 

"I'm delighted to see you," exclaimed Con- 
stance, coming down the aisle with a long vine 
trailing after. "So glad you came. Rose," she 
called to a pretty young girl working near by, 
"here are some helpers for your windows. Oh, 
you know Rose LeCroix, don't you? She goes 
to your school. Win," she added quickly, 
"won't you come and help struggle with this 
tiresome pulpit?" 

Win followed at once, glad to see Max already 
busy over the designated task, but Constance 
sent him to seek a certain wire frame reputed to 
exist in the sacristy. Win found himself twin- 
ing myrtle wreaths around the pillars of the 
stone pulpit, yet stealing constant glances at the 
interior of the old church. 



130 THE SPANISH CHEST 

Part of it was very ancient, with round Nor- 
man pillars and a rounded vault, speaking of 
very distant days. Everything save pews and 
choir stalls was of granite, its rosy color mak- 
ing the stone seem warm rather than cold. 
Vines, holly and flowers heaped about the inte- 
rior emphasized by the ephemeral beauty the 
solemn enduring majesty of the church itself. 
Ten or twelve young people were working more 
or less steadily to the accompaniment of much 
gay conversation. 

"Oh, Max, that's the wrong frame,' ' Con- 
stance said suddenly. 

Win turned to see her sorting lilies where she 
knelt on the chancel steps. 

' ' This isn 't Easter, ducky, ' ' she added. ' ' We 
want a star, not a cross." 

Max smiled at Win, an indulgent, rather 
amused smile, and when the proper frame had 
been substituted, came back to the pulpit. 

"Tell me," said Win, indicating the stone 
vault. "What are those little pointed things 
up there?" 

"You mean the limpet shells?" asked Max, 
looking up. 

"Are they shells?" said Win in amazement. 



CHRISTMAS IN JERSEY 131 

"They looked it, but I couldn't imagine how 
shells could be scattered about up there." 

"Some thousand years ago when the original 
builders quarried this stone from the Jersey 
shore, they didn't trouble to scrape off the lim- 
pets that clung to it. Nobody has removed 
them since; now it would seem sacrilege to do 
so." 

"A thousand years!" repeated Win in awe. 
He stopped work for a moment to look at the 
pointed shells on the roof. 

1 ' Does jar a fellow and makes him feel mighty 
transitory and insignificant, doesn't it!" com- 
mented Max, with a friendly glance of under- 
standing. "I think there's no place quite like 
this church. The Manor lies in its parish and 
Uncle Dick would know if a single limpet was 
knocked off. The only time I ever saw him 
really angry was once when some Americans — 
I'm an American, too, you know, so I can tell 
this story — tried to bribe the verger to scrape 
one down for them. There was rather a row 
and Uncle was in a fine fizz. 

"There's one interesting thing common to all 
these old churches," Max went on, seeing that 
Win appreciated the place. "The island is 



132 THE SPANISH CHEST 

divided into twelve parishes. From the church 
of each there was originally a road, leading di- 
rectly to the sea. In feudal times, a criminal 
was safe if he took sanctuary in the church and 
by the old custom, after he had abjured his 
crime, he could go down by this one road to the 
shore and leave the island. But if he strayed 
never so little aside, he lost the benefit of the 
sanctuary and was liable to the law. Just 
imagine some old robber or cut-throat marching 
down his path to the sea, escorted by the church- 
wardens, with other men watching his every 
step, ready to seize him if he swerved. Some of 
these sanctuary roads are still the main high- 
ways. ' ' 

"I think the island history is so interesting," 
said Win. "I suppose it is a fact that Prince 
Charles did take refuge here?" 

' ' No doubt of it, ' ' Max replied, looking criti- 
cally at the almost completed pulpit decorations. 
"Indeed, there is a story that he was enter- 
tained at Laurel Manor. Ask Uncle about it," 
he added, not noticing Win's start of interest. 
"He's awfully keen on that legend. I suppose 
it is very likely true though I don't know that 
there is any real proof. There, do you think 



CHRISTMAS IN JERSEY 133 

her ladyship will approve our efforts? Excuse 
me, — Connie wants her star put in place." 

Left alone, Win stood thinking hard. So 
Prince Charles was reputed to have visited 
Laurel Manor! What if that chance letter were 
the proof? If so, was there not more in its mes- 
sage than confirmation of the prince's stay? 
One thing was certain — he must get acquainted 
with Colonel Lisle. 

So many industrious hands soon completed 
their task. After the gay workers departed, 
Connie lingered for a last look. 

"Come and see it to-morrow morning,' ' she 
said to the three. "Probably you'll wish to go 
into town at eleven, but come here for the early 
service at six." 

Edith looked doubtful. "Sister planned to 
go to St. Aubin's," she said. 

"I couldn't come alone," said Frances, her 
disappointment showing in her face. 

"I'll come with you," offered Win so unex- 
pectedly that his sister frankly stared. 

"Good!" said Constance. "There'll be no 
music and only candle-light, but you'll love it. 
I wouldn't miss it for the world." 

That very evening Fran was forced to admit 



i 3 4 THE SPANISH CHEST 

that a Jersey Christmas had its compensations. 
The doors of the back parlor, mysteriously 
locked for days, were opened and in the room, 
gay with holly, mistletoe, and lanrestinus, ap- 
peared a most delightful little Christmas tree, 
itself rather foreign in appearance since it was 
a laurel growing in a big pot. Real English 
holly concealed the base and merry tapers 
twinkled a welcome. 

Estelle had spent much time and thought, 
coupled with anxious fears lest these young 
Americans whose lives seemed so sunny, might 
not care for so simple a pleasure. Their appre- 
ciation, not in the least put on for the occasion, 
quite repaid her. Inexpensive little gifts 
adorned the tree, each bearing a number. 

"Draw a slip, ,, commanded Roger, appear- 
ing before his mother with a box. "Take a 
chance and see what you'll get." 

When all the slips were distributed, Roger as 
instructed by Estelle, took a gift at random 
from the tree and called its attached number. 

"Who has eight V 9 he demanded. 

"Here," said Win, giving up his slip in ex- 
change for the tiny package, and presently 
laughing heartily over an absurd mechanical 



CHRISTMAS IN JERSEY 135 

mouse. Ridiculous misfits in the presents made 
the distribution all the funnier, and the rejoic- 
ing was great when Roger, who didn't believe 
in washing his hands without being told to do 
so, drew a wee cake of soap. He took it good- 
naturedly and considered as an added joke, 
Estelle 's hasty and shocked assurance that it 
was not meant especially for him. 

Strange to say, some packages appeared on 
that tree of which Estelle was ignorant, con- 
veyed by Roger to the proper persons. Edith 
was rendered speechless with joy over several 
lovely gifts, and tears filled Estelle's eye. Nor 
were Nurse and Annette forgotten. The 
Thaynes had certainly lived up to the American 
reputation for generosity. 

Then Nurse brought a big bowl filled with 
darting blue flames. The courageous shut one 
or both eyes, stuck in a fearful finger and ex- 
tracted a fig or a fat raisin. Egg-nog and 
roasted Italian chestnuts completed Estelle's 
entertainment save for the holiday dinner of 
roast beef and plum pudding to follow on the 
morrow. 

Unexpected by Estelle, her plans were supple- 
mented by a group of parish school-children, 



136 THE SPANISH CHEST 

led by the old organist, who came through the 
streets, singing Christmas carols: "God save 
you, merry gentlemen, " "Good King Wen- 
ceslaus" and "As Joseph was a-waukin\" 

In fascination Fran lingered on the steps long 
after the singers were gone, pleased with her 
distribution of pennies from her mother's purse 
and biscuit provided by Estelle. Far in the dis- 
tance she could hear their voices. Yes, after 
all, an English Christmas had its points. 

Next morning, Nurse 's call seemed incredibly 
early to Frances, though she found the whole 
household awake and exchanging greetings. 
Mrs. Thayne decided to accompany Win and 
Fran, and Roger alone remained in bed. 

The stars still shone brightly, making it seem 
the middle of the night, save for the hurrying 
groups bound for church, some still singing 
carols or hymns. 

"It's like October weather at home, isn't it, 
Mother?" said Frances as they walked on 
through the crisp, clear air. "See, there are 
lights in the windows and people leaving lan- 
terns in the porch." 

The moment she entered, Frances understood 
what Connie meant by not missing that service 



CHRISTMAS IN JERSEY 137 

for "anything in the world/ ' and Win felt it 
even more keenly, being by nature more im- 
pressionable. 

The utter quiet, broken only by a distant 
wash of waves, — waves that sometimes broke 
over the stones in the churchyard, — the candles 
in the chancel, throwing into high relief Con- 
stance 's Christmas star and touching with light 
the jonquils banking steps and altar rail; the 
dusk in the nave of the church half-revealing 
scattered groups of people as they knelt in 
silence under the arched vault where clung the 
limpets dead a thousand years, — all contributed 
to the age-old Christmas miracle. 

"I feel as though I'd never realized what 
Christmas meant before/' thought Win, and 
somewhat the same feeling came to Frances as 
her eyes became accustomed to the gloom and 
she discerned among the kneeling figures her 
fellow-workers of the day before. Half-way 
down the nave was the family' from the Manor, 
Constance and Max on either side of a tall gray- 
haired gentleman. Fran recognized him as the 
one who had spoken to Win that day in the 
Royal Square. 

Win recognized him also, knew him to be 



138 THE SPANISH CHEST 

Colonel Lisle and was quickly reminded of that 
curious old document, as yet a mystery. How 
he hoped Miss Connie's school treat would 
afford an opportunity to meet the owner of the 
Manor and to take some step toward the solu- 
tion of that puzzle. 

As the service began, Frances stole a glance 
at the windows banked with glossy laurel and 
holly, over which she and Edith had worked 
with Rose LeCroix and her sister Muriel. Just 
because she had helped do something for that 
little church in a foreign land, Fran experienced 
a sudden blessed feeling of belonging a bit. A 
pleasant glow crept into her heart, a sense of 
the spirit that makes the world akin at 
Christmas. 



CHAPTER X 

THE BUN WORRY 

1 ' I have helped you very nicely all the morn- 
ing, Connie, and I hope you appreciate my 
goodness. But as for messing about the lawn 
with a bun worry in full blast, — thank you, 
Maxfield is not on. One doesn't want to let 
one's self in for every thing. ' * 

"Your goodness isn't such as to alarm me," 
sighed Constance, casting a worried glance 
about the Manor green. "You're in no danger 
of acquiring saintship. Dad has balked, too. 
What '11 I do alone?" 

"Being on toast yourself, why do you want 
to have me there?" said Max mischievously. 
"Aren't all the Sunday school mistresses com- 
ing to help and didn't you ask those nice Amer- 
ican kiddies?" 

"I did, and that's another reason why I want 
139 



i 4 o THE SPANISH CHEST 

you," retorted Connie, flying to adjust to her 
better satisfaction the basket of narcissus decor- 
ating the chief table. "Max, I don't know 
where to have you. Since you came from the 
States, I can't make out whether you are 
English or American. Here you are shying 
either at an English school treat or at some nice 
American children. Which is it?" 

"Neither, I think," Max replied after a 
survey of the close-clipped lawn, boasting that 
velvety turf which only centuries of care can 
perfect. Great groups of laurel proudly pro- 
claimed the right of the Manor to its name; 
carefully trimmed hedges of yew and box pro- 
tected borders already gay with spring flowers, 
and beyond the grounds shimmered the sea. 
Max 's glance was one of affection, for this was 
the scene of many happy boyhood days. 

"I think I'd shy just as quickly at an Ameri- 
can tea-fight, ' ' he said at length. i ' As for being 
neither English nor American, I love both coun- 
tries. I would certainly be loyal to my own, but 
I would also take up arms for England, if the 
time ever came that she needed me and the 
two duties didn't conflict." 

"You're a duck," said Constance promptly. 



THE BUN WORRY 141 

1 1 Come, take up arms and carry a basket of buns 
for me this afternoon." 

"Too many petticoats coming," said Max. 
"I'm afraid of those freaks from the rectory. 
But I'll agree to furnish a substitute who will 
more than take my place. The kiddies will be 
thrilled to a peanut. Come now, let me off ?" 

"I suppose so," agreed Constance. "Don't 
bother about letting me down softly. Trot off 
and do anything you think you have to do. Here 
are the Marque children already. And there 
come the Thaynes. ' ' 

"I will perform a vanishing act," said Max 
quickly. "Connie, I really am booked for an 
hour with Uncle Dick, but I'll send that substi- 
tute. Watch for him." 

Constance looked after him suspiciously, but 
Max was already half across the sunken garden, 
whistling to Tylo as he went. 

"Are we too early, Miss Connie?" asked 
Frances as they came up. 

"Just on the dot," replied Connie, greeting 
them all. "The children are arriving. We will 
play games first and then have tea. Excuse 
me, please, while I go and speak to the Rever- 
end Fred." 



142 THE SPANISH CHEST 

Constance departed to greet the curate thus 
disrespectfully designated, a youthful indi- 
vidual of rather prepossessing appearance. 
Just behind him appeared Rose and Muriel Le- 
Croix and other girls whom Frances knew at 
school. 

Soon the children came thick and fast, shy 
youngsters propelled by older brothers and 
sisters, independent groups, a few babies in 
arms, a scattering of older people. 

Two white-draped tables by the yew hedge 
were the target for the children's eyes as they 
wondered what those linen-covered baskets 
concealed. There would be tea of course, buns 
in plenty, possibly cake. 

Presently the children, poked and pulled into 
line were started playing London Bridge, two 
of the biggest girls forming the bridge. 

For a moment Frances stood apart, watching 
the marching, shouting youngsters, scrubbed 
till they shone, clothed in clean though often 
clumsy garments and heavy shoes. No great 
poverty was indicated by their apparel, and 
some, evidently of French origin, were dressed 
with real taste and daintiness. These were also 
remarkable for a more vivacious appearance 



THE BUN WORRY 143 

than the stolid little Anglo-Saxons. Some few 
were of striking beauty. 

As one game succeeded another, the children 
grew less stiff and self-conscious. The Rev- 
erend Fred was joining in the sport with 
conscientious zeal, as were his two sisters and 
Edith and Miss Connie. Fran caught the con- 
tagion and found herself flying about the Man- 
or lawn, tying a handkerchief over one child's 
eyes to lead in Blindman's Buff, helping an- 
other group play King of the Castle, finally or- 
ganizing a game of Drop the Handkerchief. 

With amused surprise she saw Roger actually 
helping Muriel LeCroix with a number of the 
smallest children, and this fact so impressed 
Frances that she failed to note Win's absence. 

Her brother was not far away. Had Frances 
been nearer the opening in the hedge, leading 
into the sunken garden in its season full of 
roses, she might have seen an interesting pic- 
ture, for with great glee, Win was helping pre- 
pare for appearance Max's promised substitute. 

Down in the rose-garden, where an old sun- 
dial marked "only the sunny hours," the after- 
noon shadows grew long. The older people, 
somewhat exhausted by strenuous play, seated 



144 THE SPANISH CHEST 

the children in a big circle ready for tea. From 
the Manor emerged Yvonne, Pierre, and Paget, 
Constance 's old nurse, armed with shiny copper 
cans, to fill cups for distribution. 

Frances seized a basket of buns and for a 
time was so occupied with playing Lady Bounti- 
ful to a host of little hands, now rather grimy, 
that it seemed quite natural to be sharing in 
this unusual festivity. But as she was hurrying 
back to the table to refill her empty basket, she 
met Edith on a similar errand. Suddenly it 
struck her as very odd that she should be 
helping. 

"This is the funniest affair I ever saw," she 
confided merrily. 

"Why*" asked the puzzled Edith, lifting 
grave eyes to look at her. "Don't you give the 
Sunday school children treats in America!" 

"Oh, yes," admitted Frances, "but we'd 
never fill them up on weak tea and buns. They'd 
expect ice-cream and cake." 

Edith looked much shocked. "Ices are very 
dear, ' ' she remarked, ' ' and not fitting for these 
children. Would you really serve ices in 
winter?" she asked incredulously. 

"On the very coldest day of the year," 



THE BUN WORRY 145 

asserted Frances emphatically. "Oh, America 
is so different, Edith! Why there's scarcely a 
town so tiny that you can't buy ice-cream any 
time of the day or any time of year." 

"It must indeed be different/ ' Edith agreed. 
Basket refilled, she returned to her charges. 

For a minute Frances lingered, looking 
around at the circle of hilarious children, each 
with a mug, more or less precariously clasped, 
each stuffing big plummy buns; looked at the 
older people so anxiously attending to them. 
Yes, it was very different, very English, but 
also very interesting. 

As Frances passed the entrance to the sunken 
garden, her basket filled this time by solid-look- 
ing pieces of cake, she heard her name. 

"Fran," came Win's voice, "call Tylo. Get 
him to come out on the lawn." 

Frances called. She could see no one in the 
garden, only hear amused voices trying to in- 
duce Tylo to answer the summons. 

"He won't start," said Win again. "Ask 
Miss Connie to whistle for him, Fran." 

On receiving Fran's message, Constance 
looked puzzled. 

"I'd as soon Tylo would stop away," she 



146 THE SPANISH CHEST 

said. ' l The kiddies may not fancy him begging 
for their cake. Still, I'll call. ' > 

At the summons from his mistress, Tylo in- 
stantly came, causing a sudden silence among 
the chattering children, silence succeeded by 
wild shrieks of pleasure. 

The beach dog emerged from the garden 
wearing a wreath of roses around his neck, with 
an open pink silk parasol fastened to his collar 
and tipped at a fashionable and coquettish 
angle over his head and holding firmly in his 
mouth the handle of a basket filled with as 
varied an assortment of English "sweets" as 
Max could secure in his hasty gallop into St. 
Helier's. 

Connie, too, gave an exclamation of laughter. 
"Oh, look at my best Paris brelly!" she 
groaned. * i Max stole that. Yvonne never gave 
it to him." 

Fully conscious that he held the center of the 
stage, Tylo advanced, waving his tail and cast- 
ing amiable glances upon the children as they 
came crowding around, buns and cake for- 
gotten. He seemed perfectly to understand 
what was expected and held the basket until 
the last sugar plum was secured by little search- 



THE BUN WORRY 147 

ing hands, then employed to caress the bearer. 
Max's substitute certainly scored the greatest 
hit of the Manor "bun worry.' ' 

From their seclusion in the rose-garden, the 
two conspirators watched Tylo's successful 
appearance. 

"Let's come in and wash," said Max, seeing 
that no further responsibility remained to them. 
1 * Or are you keen on a bun worry ! I like them, 
like them awfully, you know, but somehow, I'm 
afraid Uncle Dick may be lonely. I feel it's my 
duty to look him up." 

Win would have seen through this flimsy 
excuse without the betrayal of Max's merry 
eyes, but the proposal chanced to be what he 
most wished to do. Very gladly he followed 
Max through the gardens to a side entrance to 
the house, where they went up to Max's room, 
a high oak-paneled chamber that would have 
been sombre were it not for three sunny mul- 
lioned casements overlooking the sea. Cases 
crowded with books stood by the fireplace, fish- 
ing rods, cricket bats and oars decorated the 
walls. 

"Those aren't mine," said Max, noticing 
Win's glance as he stood drying his hands; 



148 THE SPANISH CHEST 

"only the skiis and racquets. This was Rich- 
ard's room, Uncle Dick's only son. He was a 
subaltern in the British army, just twenty when 
he was killed in the charge on Majuba Hill. 
They have always given me his room at the 
Manor. I fancy Uncle liked to have it occupied 
by a boy again. ' ' 

"Colonel Lisle himself must have done some 
fighting, ' ' observed Win. ' ' How did he lose his 
arm?" 

1 ' For years he was an officer in India. He lost 
his arm defending the Khyber Pass against the 
Afghans. ' ' 

Max took his guest down the main staircase 
to the great entrance hall, with its high raftered 
roof, and stone floor half covered by valuable 
Oriental rugs. Suits of shining armor lent 
glints of light; curious spears, ancient swords 
and firearms, many of them very old, were fas- 
tened on walls dark with age. Win stopped to 
look at the carved mantel over the great fire- 
place, sporting the leopards of Jersey, the Lisle 
coat of arms and the date 1509. 

"Imagine living in a house built all those 
centuries ago," he sighed. "This is older than 
the library, isn't it?" 



THE BUN WORRY 149 

1 t Somewhat, ' ' replied Max. ' ' The wing here 
is the oldest part of the house. Let's come to 
Uncle 's study. I fancy he '11 be there. ' ' 

Colonel Lisle was lounging near the fire, but 
appeared very willing to put aside his book and 
welcome the two. 

"And have you had tea, Uncle ?" Max in- 
quired. "We haven't, and I could do nicely 
with a cup." 

"With all those gallons of tea on the lawn, 
it is a pity if an able-bodied young gentleman 
couldn't secure one cup," said the Colonel smil- 
ing. "Now you mention it, I believe I have had 
none either. Eing the bell by all means and 
order it. I was absorbed in verifying some 
points of old Norman law," he added to Win. 
"Our islands have an interesting history." 

"Win is pleased that Prince Charles has left 
his mark on Jersey, ' ' observed Max, giving the 
bell-pull a vigorous twitch. "Tell him, Uncle, 
about his stopping here." 

"Such is the legend handed down from 
father to son, ' ' replied the Colonel. i ' The story 
goes that the prince was brought to the Manor 
immediately after landing in Jersey. Just 
where he landed and how he was conveyed here 



i$o THE SPANISH CHEST 

is not known, but his stay was short. The owner 
of the Manor at that date, another Richard 
Lisle, — he whose portrait hangs in the library, 
— was an ardent Royalist who would have 
risked everything to serve his prince. Authori- 
ties agree that Charles spent the period of his 
stay in one of the castles, some say Orgueil, 
others Elizabeth. Probably the Manor roof 
sheltered him but for a few hours. I should 
very much like to see the legend of his stop in 
this house authenticated beyond question. Max 
tells me you are fond of books/ ' the speaker 
continued. " After tea, I will show you some of 
our special treasures.' ' 

Win's face, already alight with interest, grew 
even more responsive to this offer, yet as the tea 
came, he felt unaccountably stupid and idiotic. 
Utter disgust with himself filled his mind to 
think he couldn't get to the point then and there 
of telling his kind host about that letter he had 
discovered. 

Max noticed that Win was ill at ease, at- 
tributed it to shyness or perhaps awe of the 
Colonel, who was, as Max put it, "a bit impres- 
sive till a fellow knew him," and tried to help 
matters by talking nonsense that amazed Win 



THE BUN WORRY 151 

and evidently amused the Colonel. Gradually, 
as he saw that Max was not in the least afraid of 
the dignified owner of the Manor, Win began to 
feel less tongue-tied. 

Presently came a sound of gay voices, a tap 
at the door and Constance, the girls, and Roger 
entered. 

"The tea-party is gone and in its place is 
peace, ' ' said Connie. ' ' Daddy dear, I want you 
to meet Frances and Edith. And this is Roger. 
Max, why didn't you have tea with us and the 
kiddies 1" 

i ' Because of buns, ' ' said Max. ' ' My bun-eat- 
ing days are past." 

"Not so long past!" retorted Constance with 
a mischievous smile. "Not so many years ago 
that I bribed you with a penny bun to steal a 
tooth for me out of a skull in the Capuchin 
church! He did it, too," she added to the girls, 
laughing delightedly at this charge. "You 
haven't been in Rome? The Capuchin monks 
have a church there with some holy earth 
brought from Jerusalem. Years ago, — they 
don't do it now, because modern sanitary laws 
have invaded Rome, — the monks who died were 
buried in this earth. Only of course as the cen- 



152 THE SPANISH CHEST 

turies passed, there wasn't room for them all, 
so the monks longest buried had to get up and 
give place to others. Their bones were ar- 
ranged in nice neat patterns on the walls, and 
the skulls heaped in piles. It was a tooth from 
one of these skulls that I fancied. Max ate the 
bun and stole the tooth for me, but Daddy 
wouldn't let me keep it and made Max put it 
back." 

"Oh, how could you ever want such a thing, 
Miss Connie!" exclaimed Edith, shuddering 
with horror. 

"I wonder, why did I!" said Constance re- 
flectively. "It certainly doesn't appeal to me 
now. Mother was shocked; she disinfected 
everything that tooth had touched. Are you 
through tea, Daddy? I want to take the girls 
into the library. ' ' 

Once again in the old book-room, Win recov- 
ered his self-possession in admiration of its 
treasures of illuminated missal and manuscript. 
His interest pleased his host, who ended by cor- 
dially inviting the boy to visit the Manor library 
whenever and as often as he chose to come. 
Win's genuine delight over this permission 
touched the Colonel, who from his own physical 



THE BUN WORRY 153 

handicap, guessed that life was not always 
smooth for Win. 

Win's pleasure arose not merely from the en- 
joyment of the library itself but because he 
would surely grow better acquainted with the 
Manor family and have a more favorable oppor- 
tunity to show his discovery in the old Psalter. 

He was very quiet on the way home and 
scarcely spoke while Fran was giving her moth- 
er a graphic account of the afternoon. Win 
hardly knew she was talking until his attention 
was caught by a dramatic remark. 

"Miss Connie told us something so exciting, 
Mother,' ' Fran was saying. " Roger asked her 
if there was a ghost. He blurted it right out 
and I was quite mortified, because you know if 
they did have one and were sensitive, it would 
have seemed impolite. But Miss Connie said 
right away that the Manor had all modern im- 
provements, including a well-behaved and most 
desirable ghost. Then she and Mr. Max looked 
at each other and laughed. She said the 
haunted room was above the library and prom- 
ised to give us a chance to investigate some day. 
I wanted dreadfully to ask about secret stairs, 
— you remember what that boy at Orgueil 



154 THE SPANISH CHEST 

said — but perhaps when we are looking for the 
ghost there will be a chance to speak of the 
stairs. ' ' 

"Indeed, youVe had a most interesting after- 
noon," agreed Mrs. Thayne, "the discovery of 
a haunted room at the Manor being not the 
least." 

"And what have you done all by yourself, 
poor Mother?" said Frances, suddenly sympa- 
thetic and affectionate. 

"Part of the afternoon I was out and since 
then I have been talking with Estelle. If she 
only felt she could, it would be so much better 
for her to go more among people, for the con- 
stant effort to be brave when she is so much 
alone, is very wearing. She seems so pathetic- 
ally grateful that we chanced to come to her 
this winter instead of other less congenial lodg- 
ers. Sometime I hope she will speak frankly of 
just how they are situated and whether she has 
plans beyond this season, for I might be able to 
further them. And I hope, too, I shall succeed 
in placing the something familiar that always 
strikes me in Estelle. Have you ever noticed it, 
Fran? To my surprise, Win said the other day 
that Estelle reminded him of some one. ' ' 



THE BUN WORRY 155 

1 i No, ' ' said Fran. ' ' 1 never noticed it. But I 
might ask Edith whether they have any rela- 
tives in the United States.' ' 

' 'That could do no harm," assented Mrs. 
Thayne thoughtfully. " Since Win spoke of it 
also, the resemblance must be to some one we 
know over there." 

Frances and her mother went away but Win 
sat thinking for some moments. The mention of 
secret stairs recalled to him, though he could not 
say why, that odd dream twice experienced 
since he came to Jersey, of a search in a narrow 
unfamiliar passage, with unknown companions, 
for something unspecified. 

With a start he finally roused himself and 
went upstairs. Before going to bed he read 
again the copy of Richard Lisle 's letter. 

"There's more to this than just the coming of 
the prince," he thought. "That's a fact, but if 
that 'safe place' can be discovered, I'll warrant 
we shall find the Spanish Chest and whatever 
'relicks' Richard and his 'Sonne' put into it." 



CHAPTER XI 

THE MANOR CAVE 

A few days after the school treat, Maxfield 
Hamilton was sauntering slowly across the 
Manor grounds. The January sky above shone 
blue as in a New England June, gay crocuses 
starred the short green grass, snowdrops and 
bluebells were already budded. From heights 
unknown floated the song of a skylark; in the 
holly hedge sat an English robin. 

Max heard the skylark but did not notice the 
robin as he stopped at the gates to look down 
to the sea, stretching to shining horizons under 
the afternoon sun. His face was thoughtful 
and rather sober. 

The robin gave a little cheep and Max 
turned to discover the bird almost at his elbow, 
a tiny scrap of olive feathers and bright red 
breast, considering him with soft wise eyes, 
head on one side. 

156 



THE MANOR CAVE 157 

" Hello, old chap," Max remarked. "What 
do you think of this world !" 

From the tone, the robin might have inferred 
that the speaker's opinion was anything but 
favorable. Considering him for a second, he 
concluded him 'inoffensive and began to peck at 
the glowing holly berries. 

Max wandered slowly through the gates and 
across the Manorhold to the shore, distant at 
this point about a quarter of a mile. Two or 
three stone cottages with picturesque straw- 
thatched roofs lay near the cliffs, property of 
the Manor and usually occupied by employees. 

With the thoughtful expression still on his 
face, Max passed the cottages to stop on the 
edge of the cliffs already showing yellow with 
gorse. Should the tide serve, he had it in mind 
to revisit a haunt of his boyhood. A moment's 
scrutiny showed him right in thinking that the 
tide was on the ebb and he started rapidly down 
a rough, rather slippery path. As he rounded 
an outlying rock he came full on Roger Thayne. 

Sprawled flat on the sloping cliff, Roger was 
watching so intently the doings of a spider 
that he did not look up until a shadow fell 
squarely across the web. 



158 THE SPANISH CHEST 

"That you, Roger!" said Max. "Alone! 
Where are Win and the girls!" 

"I don't know," replied Roger, flushing un- 
comfortably. ' ' That is, I don't know where the 
girls are." 

"Win's not ill, I hope!" 

"No, he isn't." Roger rolled over to look at 
his visitor. The young face wore a pleasant 
smile and the gray eyes were friendly, but some- 
how Roger had a suspicion that Mr. Max wasn't 
the sort to approve outright truancy. 

"Win's all right," he added evasively. "He's 
studying or something. ' ' 

A queer little expression crossed Max's lips. 
"Then since you have a holiday, — well-de- 
served, no doubt, — come on exploring with me." 

Roger was on his feet in a second, the arrow 
of reproof glancing off unnoted. "Where are 
you going!" he demanded. 

"Oh, just down here a few rods. We may 
have to hold up for the tide. It won't be low 
water for some time yet." 

The faint path presently ended in piles of red 
granite, still wet from the sea, in places slippery 
with vraic, as the Jerseymen call the seaweed 
used as fertilizer for their land. 



THE MANOR CAVE 159 

"We shall have to stop a bit," said Max, 
after a short steep descent. As he spoke he sat 
down and began to crush a bit of vraic between 
his fingers. 

"This seaweed is one of the biggest assets 
the farmers have," he said to Roger. "You'll 
enjoy being here in February when the great 
vraic harvest comes. The farmers go down to 
the shore with carts and a sort of sickle. At 
low tide the southern shore is black with people 
cutting the seaweed from the rocks. The carts 
are used to carry it up beyond tide-mark. Men, 
women and young people all turn out and it's 
one of the sights of the island. The harvest 
lasts for several weeks and for the first few days 
there is a continual picnic with dancing and all 
sorts of jollifications." 

"But Pve often seen men gathering seaweed 
on the beach,' ' said Roger. "It isn't February 
yet." 

"They are gathering the loose weed that is 
washed ashore. Any one may take that be- 
tween the hours of sunrise and sunset, but he 
must stop at sound of the sunset gun. The 
cutting from the rocks is regulated by a hal- 
lowed custom. In June there's a second harvest 



160 THE SPANISH CHEST 

when only the poor people may cut the vraic 
for a few weeks. After they have had their 
turn anybody may cut it till the last of August. ' ' 

As he concluded, Max threw away the seaweed 
and picked up one of the abundant black flint 
pebbles. For some moments he amused him- 
self by striking sparks from it with the back 
of a knife blade. 

"I haven't lost the knack," he remarked. 
"By the way, have you found any flint knives? 
They turn up occasionally, though more often 
inland than in a place like this. They are 
relics of the days when the Druids were in Jer- 
sey. YouVe seen the burial mounds, haven't 
you, — the Dolmens ?" 

"I have," said Roger briefly. "In Bill 
Fish's company. Liked the stones all right 
enough, but Bill can't talk, you know. He ex- 
pounds." 

Max grinned. "Bad habit, that," he agreed. 
"Come along. We can get through now." 

Climbing carefully around a slippery pro- 
jecting rock, its base yet submerged, they came 
upon the loveliest of lovely little beaches, in 
shape almost a semi-circle, the water forming 
the bisector and the frowning red cliffs the 




THE LOVELIEST OF LITTLE BEACHES.-Pa^ 160. 



THE MANOR CAVE 161 

arc. Near the centre of the half-circle stood 
two tall pinnacles of red granite. Behind them 
yawned an entrance about five feet high and 
under this Max bent his tall head. Roger fol- 
lowed and uttered a whistle of pleasure and 
amazement. 

They stood in a large cave, floored by fine 
bright yellow sea sand, broken irregularly by 
out-croppings of rose-pink rock, sand and rock 
alike wet and glistening. Away to the back of 
the cave, Eoger saw that the floor rose higher. 
The roof was iridescent with green and yellow 
lichens; pebbles of jasper, cornelian and agate 
strewed the sand. 

In the twelve years of his existence, Roger 
had never seen anything like this and surprise 
rendered him inarticulate. 

" Some cave!" he commented at length. 
"Look, Mr. Max, what are these?" 

"Oh, haven't you met any sea-anemones? 
The pools are full of them. Jolly little beg- 
gars." 

Roger was naturally less enthusiastic over 
the charming water-gardens than the girls 
when they chanced upon them, but he was con- 
siderably interested in the numerous and vari- 



1UZ J.11JL/ OIAlMOil \^llLL,OX 

colored snails, their shells bright green or deli- 
cate pink, truly entrancing to pick np and ex- 
amine. By the time Roger finished a somewhat 
minute inspection his companion was out of 
sight. 

"Hello!" he shouted in some concern. 

1 ' Right-oh ! ' ' came a quiet reply. 

Rather abashed by the startling echoes he 
had evoked, Roger climbed over fallen rocks 
to the back of the cave. There the floor rose 
sharply, affording a level apparently beyond 
reach of the tide, for some tiny land plants had 
found a lodging, ferns waved from the crannied 
vault and there was no sign of any marine 
growth. 

"This used to be a favorite resort of mine, ,, 
said Max, who was sitting on the high ledge, 
some five feet wide. Beyond, the cave ended 
in a mass of stone and rubble. 

Roger's eyes grew wide. "What a dandy 
place !" he exclaimed. 

"Not much compared with the Plemont 
caves," replied his companion. "You'll prob- 
ably go there before leaving the island. There 
are five or six of them and one has a waterfall 
dividing it into two distinct caves. Plemont is 



THE MANOR CAVE 163 

the spot where the cable comes in from Eng- 
land, crawls out of the ocean like a great drip- 
ping hoary old sea-serpent to trail through a 
cleft to the station on the cliff above. This is 
a rat-hole beside those caves.' ' 

"I'll take steps to go there," said Roger 
earnestly. "Say, does the water ever come up 
here?" 

"I don't think so. Even at the spring tides, 
it would probably not reach within two feet 
of this ledge. Only a rip-snorter of a tempest 
could endanger goods stored here, or even any- 
body who chose this cave to hide in." 

"Some hiding-place," admitted Roger. 

"So I've found it. "When I was about your 
age, I came down here because I was annoyed 
with the world in general and stopped between 
two tides." 

"Really!" gasped Roger. "Did you get 
wet?" 

"Not a bit. I'll admit that things seemed 
spooky when I'd waited so long that I couldn't 
get out. I took solid comfort in the ferns and 
in a sea pink that had put out a scared little 
blossom right where we are sitting. I was 
shut in the better part of six hours and time 



1 64 THE SPANISH CHEST 

proved a bit slow. I remember coming to the 
conclusion that perhaps the people I'd left be- 
hind weren't so utterly unreasonable after all. 
I fancy it's a rather sure sign that when you 
can't rub along with anybody, the trouble isn't 
altogether with them." 

Roger looked at him suspiciously but Max's 
gaze was bent on the cave entrance, arching 
over a wonderful view of blue sea. 

"Do you like to live in Paris?" he asked 
hastily. 

"I'd rather stop in Rome where my father 
is," Max replied, suppressing a smile over the 
sudden change of subject. "But Dad runs up 
occasionally. I feel as though I'd be more use 
in Rome because there I know everybody who 
is anybody, you see, and it would be a help to 
the Embassy. Dad thinks I may be able to 
work a transfer after a year or so. If the Am- 
bassador to Italy remarks to the State Depart- 
ment at Washington that Maxfield Hamilton 
seems a likely young chap with both eyes open 
and that he wouldn't mind having him on his 
staff, why Max may receive a document telling 
him to pack his little box and attach his person 
to the Embassv at Rome." 



THE MANOR CAVE 165 

Roger laughed. "Then you don't like 
Paris*" 

"Oh, yes," said Max thoughtfully. "I've 
had a jolly time socially. I can't imagine any- 
body in my circumstances not enjoying him- 
self. But it's not where I most want to be. 
It's up to me to make good so emphatically that 
they'll hand me on to Rome with a word in my 
favor." 

"I expect they will," said Roger. 

' ' Xot if I don 't buckle down, ' ' said Max half 
to himself. ' ' Something happened last October 
that gave me a jolt and it has been hard to 
stick to work. I came over here for the holi- 
days determined to get myself in hand again. 
I think I've succeeded, old chap, so I'd better 
go back and dig in. A man mustn't whine, you 
know, if it looks jolly final that he isn't going 
to have everything he wants. I've wasted time 
enough. I must go back to Paris now and keep 
my mind on my job." 

"I bunked Bill Fish this afternoon," ad- 
mitted Roger suddenly. 

"No doubt he was a frightful bore," com- 
mented Max without showing the least surprise. 
"Probably I'd have done the same in your 



1 66 THE SPANISH CHEST 

place. The only disadvantage about shying at 
disagreeable things like tutors is that one hardly 
ever gets rid of them after all. I'm becoming 
convinced that the only way to get round a diffi- 
culty is to hit it in the head and walk over its 
flattened corpse.' ' 

Roger grinned. "Shall I bat Bill Fish!" 
lje asked. 

' * Bill Fish might be worse. Don 't blame you 
for feeling him a freak, but the schools in Jer- 
sey are footy affairs. If you want a fair sample 
of a school you'd have to try England proper. 
We've messed about here long enough. Let's 
take a swim." 

"Does the cave end here?" asked Roger, 
looking at the pile of broken stone beyond the 
shelf. 

"I suppose so. It's the only one on the Manor 
lands so Connie and I liked to come. Uncle 
Dick wouldn't permit it unless a grown person 
was with us to watch the tide. How about a 
dip? No one can see us." 

Max left the ridge to saunter toward the en- 
trance, stopping to investigate more than one 
pool of anemones. "By the way," he added, 
"I wouldn't tell the girls of this cave. They'll 



THE MANOR CAVE 167 

be keen on searching for it afternoons when they 
are free and you aren't, and may get into a 
mess with the tides. Eeally it 's not quite safe. ' ' 
"All right,' ' agreed Roger, sliding from the 
shelf. As he did so, a sudden current of warm 
air struck him, quite unlike the rather damp, 
salty atmosphere of the cave. His curiosity 
was sufficiently aroused to cause him to stop 
and look back, but Max had already begun to 
undress and there seemed no possible place for 
a sweet land breeze to find entrance. 



CHAPTER XII 

WIN VISITS THE LIBRARY 

Max 's abrupt departure two days later was a 
great disappointment to Win, who admired him 
greatly and coveted a closer acquaintance. 
That he should cut short his stay on the plea 
of work to be done seemed reasonable to the 
others but his going quite upset Win. Nor was 
this disappointment lightened by a period of 
semi-invalidism when all exertion was difficult 
and patience very far to seek. Not for some 
weeks after Max left was Win able to take ad- 
vantage of the Colonel's prized invitation to 
use the Manor library. 

He made his first visit, fully determined to 
broach the discovery of Richard Lisle 's letter 
to either the Colonel or his daughter, which- 
ever should appear, but Yvonne, who admitted 
him with a smiling welcome, reported neither 
at home. 

168 



WIN VISITS THE LIBRARY 169 

Nor did fortune favor his second attempt. 
The Colonel was in St. Helier's and Constance 
entertaining a group of young people on the 
lawn. Win dodged these visitors and from 
the library windows looked down upon a lively 
set of tennis. Players and spectators alike 
seemed to know one another extremely well. 
The inference Win drew was correct, that for 
some reason, the little lady of the Manor chose 
just now to crowd her life with social engage- 
ments and gay festivities. 

Time had been when Win didn 't care to watch 
others play games he could not share, but Win 
was learning that every life has its compensa- 
tions; when one is debarred from one thing, 
he is sure to have another in its place. With- 
out envy Win watched them for a time before 
turning to the books. 

His third visit was made on a morning in 
early February when walking was rather diffi- 
cult owing to a penetrating rain. Wintry 
weather seemed to have visited the Island, but 
the cold was deceptive, for though a heavy 
coat was acceptable, plenty of flowers were in 
blossom, even a number of surprised-looking 
roses. 



i 7 o THE SPANISH CHEST 

On reaching the Manor, Win was admitted by 
cordial Yvonne, who at once conducted him to 
his sanctuary. The room was empty, but a 
cheery fire glowed on the hearth, and on the 
long bare black oak table stood an enormous 
copper bowl full of fresh daffodils, making a 
spot of light and beauty in the sombre room. 

Win spent a few moments warming his hands 
at the fire and considering thoughtfully the 
back of the old Psalter in which was shut Bich- 
ard Lisle 's letter. Perhaps opportunity would 
favor him to-day, some chance be provided to 
show that discovery to either Miss Connie or 
her father. 

That its contents referred to Prince Charles 
was established beyond doubt by the existing 
legend of his entertainment at the Manor, but 
the letter said much more than that. Only some 
one thoroughly familiar with the Manor and its 
possessions could interpret further. As the rain 
beat on the terrace outside, Win chanced to 
look up at the portrait near the fireplace, and 
instantly recalled that curious dream. 

"I dreamed all that stuff just because I've 
always been crazy to go treasure-hunting," he 
thought, "and because that old Cavalier was 



WIN VISITS THE LIBRARY 171 

the last thing I saw before I went to sleep. 
Well, I might go and read for a while.' ' 

With a glance of admiration at some fine old 
armor passed on the way, Win went into the 
farther room to settle himself on the comfort- 
able window seat with a fat history of the is- 
land of Jersey. 

Fully an hour passed before the sound of low 
voices penetrated his consciousness. Gradually 
he became aware that two people were now oc- 
cupying the seat before the smouldering fire. 
One was Constance Lisle, the other some one 
Win had never seen before, a dark distin- 
guished-looking young man, evidently of for- 
eign blood. 

Connie was leaning back in the corner of the 
old settle, her white dress and the neighboring 
bowl of daffodils standing out as high lights in 
the shadowy surroundings. Her companion, 
beside her, was bending slightly forward, his 
face turned eagerly toward hers. 

Had he wished to listen, Win could not dis- 
tinguish the low words. That fact absolved him 
from the necessity of making his presence 
known, for leave he could not without passing 
through the room. Presently the young man 



172 THE SPANISH CHEST 

raised his voice and Win realized that he was 
speaking in Italian. 

For the moment, interest in the present dis- 
missed the past. Win had heard the girls' 
chatter about their adored Miss Connie and the 
romance attributed to her by Mrs. Trott, but 
boy-like, paid very little attention to what he 
considered the foolish fancies of sentimental 
kids. Now he was startled into sudden interest. 

That stranger must be Miss Connie's Italian 
prince. Very handsome and very much of a 
gentleman he looked and most earnest their 
conversation. Yet even to an inexperienced ob- 
server, it was not that of two happy young peo- 
ple, entering a sunny stretch of life, but of a 
boy and girl confronted with some stern and 
very present problem. Connie's hands were 
clasped too tightly, there was a sense of strain 
in the poise of her head. Her companion 's pose 
was one of perplexity and doubt. 

Win remembered what else he had heard of 
that rumored engagement, not much to be sure, 
save that strong pressure was being put upon 
the last of the Santo-Pontes in order to secure 
the estates and title of a great Roman house to 
the church of his ancestors. 



WIN VISITS THE LIBRARY 173 

Presently Win realized that he had no right 
even to look on. He turned his face to the 
storm and again buried himself in his old vol- 
ume. 

A long time later he heard his name and Con- 
stance strolled alone through .the arch from the 
other room. She looked pale and tired but 
otherwise composed. 

1 ' I didn 't know you were here, Win, ' ' she said 
as she came to his chosen window. 

"I've been stuck in this book for ages. Miss 
Connie, I've found the most interesting thing 
ever. ' ' 

' ' What is it ? " Connie inquired listlessly, won- 
dering, but not particularly caring whether Win 
knew of her interview with Louis di Santo- 
Ponte. She looked sweet and wistful as she 
stood leaning against the window seat, her 
mind down in the town where the boat for St. 
Malo was getting up steam. ' ' Tell me about it, 
Win," she added, recalling her wandering 
thoughts. She liked Win as she liked most 
young people. 

"Come and see," said Win, replacing his his- 
tory in its case. Connie accompanied him to 
the fireplace in the main room. 



174 THE SPANISH CHEST 

"Did you ever look at that book?" he in- 
quired, indicating the worn old Psalter. 

"There are several thousand books here that 
I never looked at," said Connie promptly. 
"Max is the one who browses in this part of 
the library. Ah, he 's been here lately, reading 
his horrid old German philosophers." With an 
air of disgust she pointed to the blue-bound 
modern volumes. 

"What is this book that interests you so 
much?" she went on, taking it from the shelf. 
"Oh, an old copy of the Psalms. Look at its 
odd type." 

"It isn't the book that interests me," said 
Win, "but this paper. I found it accidentally. 
Do read it, Miss Connie, and see what you make 
of it." 

After her first perusal, Constance grew as ex- 
cited as Win. With the deliberate purpose of 
putting her troubles from her mind, she con- 
centrated her attention on this discovery. 

"The prince of course refers to Charles, be- 
cause it is an historical fact that he took refuge 
in Jersey," began Win. 

"Yes, and there's the legend that he was 
entertained here at the Manor," exclaimed 



WIN VISITS THE LIBRARY 175 

Connie. "Why Dad will be crazy about this, 
for it proves that story !" 

1 i I hoped he 'd be pleased, ' ' said Win happily. 

"Oh, he will!" replied Connie. "Charles 
was just a boy, only sixteen, at the time he fled 
from England/ ' 

"Ever since I saw two letters in the British 
Museum, Charles the Second has seemed a very 
real person to me," said Win smiling. "Do 
you know them, Miss Connie? One is from 
Queen Henrietta Maria to Prince Charles, ex- 
pressing great regret that the prince has re- 
fused to take the 'physick' prescribed for him, 
and hoping that he will consent to do so on the 
following day, for if he didn't she should be 
obliged to come to him and she trusted he 
would not give her that 'paine." She had also 
requested the Duke of Newcastle to report to 
her whether he took it or not and so she 
'rested.' 

"But what I liked best," Win went on, "was 
the letter Prince Charles wrote. He evidently 
didn't reply to his mother, but sent a note to 
the Duke of Newcastle in which he flatly re- 
fused to take the 'physick' and advised the 
Duke not to take any either!" 



176 THE SPANISH CHEST 

Connie laughed. ' ' That does seem a touch of 
real boy nature, doesn't it! But I'm afraid 
Prince Charles was rather a rotten young cub, 
not worth the affection expended on him nor 
the good lives laid down in his cause. The 
Kichard Lisle who wrote this letter was my 
great-great — oh, I don't know how many times 
removed — grandfather! It's plain that Prince 
Charles came here to the Manor, was fed and 
provided with a change, and escorted to the 
castle, probably Orgueil. But what the 
'relicks' are and what the 'safe place,' I can't 
tell. Nor do I know what is meant by the 
Spanish chest. If there was anything of that 
description around the Manor I'd jolly well 
know it." 

"Would Colonel Lisle know?" asked Win 
eagerly. 

"I wonder, will he?" mused Connie after a 
pause spent in close scrutiny of the document. 
"We'll ask. Anyway, he'll be awfully inter- 
ested because here it is in black and white that 
Prince Charles was brought to the Manor. Win, 
it's storming desperately and I'm bored to 
death. I'm going to send Pierre to St. Aubin's 
to tell your mother that you won't be back for 



WIN VISITS THE LIBRARY 177 

luncheon. We '11 show Dad your find and bring 
our united minds to bear on the problem." 

Win was sorely tempted. The walk through 
the storm had taxed his strength. Should he 
struggle back, the chances were that he would 
be too tired for any lessons after his arrival. 

"Your tutor won't matter, will he!" asked 
Connie. "You're not expected to be so regular 
as Roger." 

Wingate grinned. "I was thinking how 
angry Roger will be if he finds himself the sole 
object of Bill Fish's attention this afternoon. 
Thank you, Miss Connie. I want mightily to 
.stay. I ought not to have come up here to- 
day when it was storming, but since I'm here 
the wisest thing is to wait for a time. And 
I'm wild to know what your father thinks of 
this paper. I will send a note to Mother if I 
may." 

"I'll write, too," said Constance, "and I shall 
tell her that we'll keep you all night if the rain 
continues. I need somebody to play with me, 
Win. I'm jolly glad you did brave the storm." 



CHAPTER XIII 

ABOUT THE SPANISH CHEST 

Roger's state of mind at finding himself 
destined to be the sole object of Bill Fish's 
ministrations that afternoon was laughable. He 
vowed to Frances that he also would take 
French leave and bitterly denounced Win for 
absconding, declaring it a "put up job." 

"Perhaps Mr. Fisher won't come," consoled 
Frances. "The storm has really grown much 
worse since morning. ' ' 

"Indeed he will," said Roger darkly. 
"Fishes like water. I only hope he'll wipe his 
fins when he comes in. The last rainy day he 
dripped all over the room. I was 'most drowned 
before we finished. But it was mean and 
sneaky of Win to go up to the Manor this 
morning. He might have known that I wanted 
help with my arithmetic." 

178 



ABOUT THE SPANISH CHEST 179 

"Perhaps I can help," offered Frances. 
Luncheon just over, the unwelcome Mr. Fisher 
was due in twenty minutes. 

"Oh, you may try," conceded Roger un- 
graciously. "But if Win stays up there all 
night, I'll pay him out." 

"Mother thinks from Miss Connie's note that 
they were doing something very interesting and 
she really wanted him," Fran said lazily, her 
face pressed against the pane. "How angry 
and gray the water looks. ' ' 

"I've a great mind to bunk," said Roger 
gloomily. "It's not fair for me to work alone 
all the afternoon." 

"Edith and I have been at school all the 
morning," said the peace-making Frances. 
"And Win does work when he can; he never 
really shirks, Roger. ' ' 

"He likes to study," grumbled Roger. "I 
don't." 

"There are so many things you can do that 
Win can't," reminded his sister. 

"Don't preach," retorted Roger, but Fran's 
comment recalled to his mind the conversation 
with Max in the cave. Boy-like, Roger would 
not admit even to himself any repentance for 



180 THE SPANISH CHEST 

his short-comings on that occasion, but the 
recollection served to smooth his present ruffled 
feelings. Win had worked alone with Bill 
Fish all that afternoon and Roger remembered 
most distinctly how Mr. Max looked when he 
said he was going back to Paris and waste no 
more time. 

' 'Win is having fun, I'm sure," said Fran at 
length. "Miss Connie promised Edith and me 
that we shall come up and sleep in the haunted 
room some night if we like." 

"What's it haunted by!" demanded Roger. 

"She wouldn't tell us. Says if we know, 
we'll be sure to see things. But she is going 
to have a bed put up for herself and come in 
with us, so I'm sure it's nothing very dreadful. 
I'm so glad we came to Jersey just so we could 
know Miss Connie." 

"Some girl," admitted Roger. "But she 
can't hold a candle to Mr. Max. He's a corker." 

"He is nice," Frances agreed. "But show 
me your arithmetic. And would you like me 
to sit in the room? Perhaps Mr. Fisher won't 
be so fierce if I am there." 

"I would not," was her brother's concise 
reply. "He isn't fierce either; he's merely 



ABOUT THE SPANISH CHEST 181 

flappy. I tell you he is a fish. He looks exactly 
like one of those flatfish we catch down in 
Maine. Eyes both on one side." 

Nothing more unlike the tall, angular Scotch 
tutor could possibly have been mentioned, but 
Fran suppressed a laugh as she inspected 
Roger's problems in mathematics. 

"Me doing arithmetic ! ' ' he groaned. "And 
Win having the time of his life at the Manor ! ' ' 

If not exactly experiencing such bliss, Win 
was thoroughly enjoying himself. After lunch- 
eon in the charming old Manor dining-room 
with a cheerful fire dispelling all gloom caused 
by the rain on the windows, the three ad- 
journed to Colonel Lisle 's study, where Win 
placed upon the table his discovery. The 
Colonel read it with great interest. 

' ' Well, that is a valuable document, Win, ' ' he 
admitted. " It is evidently a page from a letter 
that Richard Lisle, fourth, wrote to sonre one 
and never sent. I am the ninth Richard, so you 
see how far back that was. Of course it refers 
to the Prince of Wales, afterwards Charles II 
of England. It is a curious fact in the history 
of the Channel Islands that Guernsey sided 
with the Parliament in its dispute with the 



1 82 THE SPANISH CHEST 

king, while Jersey remained royalist to the core. 
I am under great obligations to you for discov- 
ering this paper, for it proves beyond doubt the 
legend that I have always wished to see sub- 
stantiated, that Prince Charles came to Laurel 
Manor. ' ' 

" Don't you make out, Daddy, that they gave 
him other clothes and took him to the castle?" 
asked his daughter. 

"Without doubt. Orgueil, or possibly Castle 
Elizabeth. I believe that the consensus of opin- 
ion now favors Elizabeth as having been the 
prince's refuge." 

"What do you make of the rest of it, sir?" 
asked Win, who was still beaming with happi- 
ness over the Colonel's appreciation. "It says 
in so many words that they put something in a 
chest and hid it until the trouble was over. ' ' 

"That much is plain," replied his host 
thoughtfully. The paper was spread upon his 
desk and the young people sat on either side. 
Win's attention was distracted for a moment 
by his view of the Colonel's distinguished face, 
the face of an high-bred English gentleman. 
With all the impetuosity of his American birth 
and training, Win felt the charm of this gentle- 



ABOUT THE SPANISH CHEST 183 

man of other race and another generation. He 
admired the Colonel's complete repose, his cour- 
teous ways and softly modulated voice. They 
were not in the least effeminate and the empty 
sleeve and the little bronze Victoria cross bore 
witness that the Colonel was a very gallant 
officer. 

"I think," began Constance, "that Great- 
great-grandfather Dick and his * Sonne ' put the 
prince's clothes and perhaps some other things 
in a chest and hid them. Dad, did you ever 
know of anything answering to the description 
of 'ye Spanish chest'!" 

The Colonel thoughtfully smoothed his gray 
mustache. "There is the box that came from 
the Armada," he remarked. "But that cannot 
be the one referred to, since that belonged to 
your mother, my dear, and comes from her side 
of the house." 

"Mummy was Irish," Connie explained to 
Win. "I'll show you that box. It really was 
washed up on the coast of Ireland and has been 
in her family for centuries. No, of course, it 
couldn't be that." 

"A Spanish chest does not necessarily mean 
a relic of the Armada," went on the Colonel. 



1 84 THE SPANISH CHEST 

" There might possibly be a box of Spanish 
workmanship, but I know of none in the Manor 
to which that description could be applied. 
That big black oak chest in the upper hall is 
English. The one in my room is Flemish. ' ' 

"Oh, those are both too big, anyway," de- 
clared Constance. "Even men in a hurry 
wouldn't take a box as big as those to pack a 
suit of clothes in. No, it was something that 
could be easily carried and concealed. It takes 
four servants to move those great arks." 

"Then, if there isn't anything in the Manor 
that answers the description, don't you believe 
the chest and the things in it are still hidden?" 
Win asked rather shyly, but with keen in- 
terest. 

The Colonel smiled kindly. ' ' Sorry to quench 
your enthusiasm, Win," he said, "but I doubt 
it. Prince Charles landed in Jersey in 1646 if 
my memory serves. Subtract that date from 
this year of our Lord. I'm afraid that chest, 
whatever it was, has long since emerged from its 
hiding-place. According to the document here, 
it was concealed only till l happier times should 
dawne.' Prince Charlie came to his own again, 
you remember. This Richard Lisle died some- 



ABOUT THE SPANISH CHEST 185 

where about 1675. He lived to see the Restora- 
tion, so surely he or his son brought to light 
again the things that there was no longer reason 
to conceal." 

"But, Daddy," said Constance quickly, no- 
ticing the look of disappointment on Win's ex- 
pressive face. "People forget. Let's think of 
all the possibilities. It says some place outside 
the walls. And they needed a lantern. ' ' 

"There is the cave, daughter, at the edge of 
the Manor estates, but you know all about that. 
Why, I know that cave myself, I was going to 
say, every grain of sand in it." 

"That's true," admitted Connie. "And of 
course in all the centuries, numbers of people 
have been there." 

"Considering the brisk trade in smuggling 
that was done in Jersey during the 1700 's, I 
think the chances of finding anything in the 
Manor cave are very small, ' ' agreed her father. 
"There is one thing, though, we might look at." 

As he spoke, he rose and produced his keys. 
Swinging back a portrait on hinges, he disclosed 
a small safe built into the wall. Win was silent 
through interest in this novel way of concealing 
a strong-box, but Constance jumped up. 



1 86 THE SPANISH CHEST 

1 ' What are you looking for, Daddy f Oh, the 
plans of the Manor/ ' 

" You see," said the Colonel to Win as he sat 
down again, a discolored roll of papers in his 
hand, "the original Manor house has been added 
to from time to time. Let us see what it com- 
prised in the days when Kichard Lisle read his 
Psalter and wrote his letter. It is possible that 
something then outside the wall may now be in- 
side the house.' ' 

"There's a number of queer things about this 
old place,' ' said Connie, sharing Win's look of 
expectation. "Max and I have run a good 
many of them to earth, but there may be some- 
thing yet. Certainly we never stumbled on any 
Spanish chest." 

The two young people helped the Colonel 
spread the plans and arrange paper-weights to 
keep them flat. 

"This comprises not only the house itself but 
the grounds, ' ' he began. ' ' They run as you see 
to the cliffs of the bay. The cave is there." 

"I never knew that," said Win. "Is it 
large?" 

"Nothing like Plemont or even La Grecq," 
Constance replied. "Those are the show caves 



ABOUT THE SPANISH CHEST 187 

of Jersey. There are many as big as ours. It's 
a rather rough walk, Win, and the cave is ac- 
cessible only at low tide. I did say something 
about it once to Edith and Frances, but they 
didn't understand, and after they were caught 
by the tide, I thought it would be better for them 
not to know of it. You see one can get shut in 
till the next low water. There 's no danger be- 
cause the vault is so high that the tide doesn't 
fill it. In fact, Max deliberately stopped there 
once." 
"Was he shut in?" asked Win. 
"No," said the Colonel smiling. "He was 
annoyed with me and took that method of ex- 
pressing his displeasure. I fancy he was a 
trifle surprised that no fuss was made over his 
exploit. You see, I knew he was perfectly 
safe. Connie, I think that path is possible for 
Win some day when the weather and tide both 
serve. Well, this is the extent of the original 
house. It includes this wing where we are and 
the main portion. These shaded partitions 
show distinctly where later additions have been 
made." 

"What is this tiny dotted line across the 
grounds?" Win inquired. 



188 THE SPANISH CHEST 

"That? It is a footpath toward the shore 
and the gardener's cottage. I should say that 
the present path curves more, but that is its 
direction in general." 

Win was puzzled by this explanation. Why 
should only one of the Manor paths be marked? 
That it was the sole one existing at the time 
the plans were drawn seemed scarcely possible. 

' ' That * safe place, ' if it was outside the walls 
in those days would probably have been some- 
where underground," commented Connie, after 
the map had been exhaustively discussed. 
"That might mean that it is now in the cellars 
somewhere. Dad, have we your permission to 
explore all the subterranean caverns?" 

"If there are any that you haven't already 
investigated," said the amused Colonel. "I 
didn't suppose there was a square inch of the 
place that you and Max hadn't by heart." 

"I thought so, too," said Constance, "but if 
Win's theories are correct, there must be some- 
thing we have overlooked. What do you say 
about an exploration, Win?" 

"Oh, I should like nothing better," said Win 
eagerly. "It will be great sport to hunt for 
that chest. And it's so interesting to look 



ABOUT THE SPANISH CHEST 189 

around a house that has been in the same fam- 
ily for centuries.' ' 

" There has been a Richard Lisle of Laurel 
Manor for over four hundred years,' ' said the 
Colonel rather sadly. l ' I am the last of a long 
line." 

"The only solution,' ' said Constance quickly, 
"is for your unworthy daughter to marry some 
perfectly insignificant person, who will as a 
part of the marriage contract, take the name of 
Lisle." 

"The man who marries my daughter,' ' re- 
plied the Colonel with gentle dignity, "will 
have an honorable and, I trust, an honored 
name of his own to offer her." 

"Else he will never get her," commented 
Connie with charming impertinence. "Daddy 
dear, if I could find a man one half as nice as 
you are, I'd marry him on the spot! Win, 
we'll arrange to head an exploring expedition. 
It's too cold and spooky in the cellars to do it 
this afternoon. We'll plan for a time when 
Roger and the girls can share the sport. I wish 
Max was here, too. He would simply dote on 
it." 

"I wish he was!" sighed Win. "I was 



i 9 o THE SPANISH CHEST 

dreadfully disappointed when I heard he had 
gone. I think he's about right.' ' 

A sudden very charming smile broke over 
Connie's face. Up to that time, it had been 
rather serious. "If we don't solve the prob- 
lem before the Easter holidays," she said, 
"Max will be keen on running it down. I 
hope he can come then. He took so long at 
Christmas that I'm afraid they'll dock him at 
Easter, and I shall be completely desolated if 
that happens." 

"I think he will come," said the Colonel. 
"In fact he told me he might be able to get 
away for an occasional week-end. With a fast 
car it is not so far to Granville or even St. 
Malo and he need waste no time waiting for 
the steamer." 

Constance suddenly sat up straight. "Max 
mustn't neglect his duties," she declared. 
"Either he has a very indulgent chief or he is 
hedging." 

Her attitude was so comically severe that 
Win laughed, and her father looked up with a 
smile. 

"I can't be responsible for what Max tells 
his chief," he remarked, "but I know enough 



ABOUT THE SPANISH CHEST 191 

about the diplomatic service to feel sure he is 
giving satisfaction. ' ' 

Constance still looked stern. "It's all right, 
of course, if he really earns his week-end, ' ' she 
conceded, "but I won't have him shirking. In 
October he was so serious and quiet that I 
didn't know what to think of him, but at 
Christmas he was the same dear boy he used 
to be. Didn't you think he was just like his 
old self?" 

The Colonel thus appealed to, returned her 
smile. "There were moments," he gravely re- 
plied, "when I doubted whether either one of 
you was more than sixteen." 



CHAPTER XIV 



IN THE VAULTS 



When Win finally appeared at Rose Villa, 
driven down in a closed carriage, the tale he 
related was of sufficient interest to banish from 
even Roger's mind the resentment he consid- 
ered but just, after his long afternoon with 
Mr. Fisher. Those hours had been profitable, 
did Roger only choose to admit the fact, for 
the tutor had managed to galvanize into life 
the dry bones of an epoch in history. Roger 
would not acknowledge it even to himself, but 
on that stormy day he came rather near liking 
Bill Fish. 

"That's a most exciting discovery, Win," 
said Mrs. Thayne when the tale was concluded. 
"But I'm afraid I agree with Colonel Lisle 
that the chances of finding anything are small, 
though you will have fun exploring. It is very 

192 



IN THE VAULTS 193 

kind of the Colonel and Miss Connie to permit 
such a troop to invade the Manor.' ' 

"I think they are just as interested them- 
selves," Win replied. "The Colonel was im- 
mensely pleased to have that legend con- 
firmed. ' ' 

Mrs. Thayne looked at him rather wistfully, 
wondering how much of the interest displayed 
by the Manor family was due to sympathy with 
Win. No doubt they liked him, for people al- 
ways did. Well, she was glad that this unusual 
experience was coming his way. 

"I'm crazy to see that cave!" Frances was 
saying. "Don't you remember, Edith, when 
we first met Miss Connie on the beach, she said 
something about looking for caves? I suppose 
she was thinking of this one." 

"I've been in it," Roger suddenly announced. 
"Mr. Max took me. It's a very decent cave 
but there's only one place where a box could 
be hidden, on a sort of ledge above the water. 
We climbed up and if there had been so much 
as a snitch of a chest about, it couldn't have 
escaped us." 

"You've been in the cave?" demanded Fran- 
ces, pouncing upon him. "When did Mr. Max 



i 9 4 THE SPANISH CHEST 

take you? Where were the rest of us? Why 
didn't you tell us?" 

Eoger looked uncomfortable. He had never 
mentioned that expedition, not even to his 
mother during a very serious conversation on 
the sin of truancy. 

"Oh, I met him on the cliff," he said eva- 
sively. "He showed me the cave and we went 
swimming. He is a corking swimmer." 

"But why didn't you tell us about it?" per- 
sisted Frances. 

Roger saw no way out. Being a truthful 
individual he blurted forth the facts. 

"Because Mr. Max told me not to. He said 
it wasn 't safe and he was afraid you girls would 
go fooling around and get caught by the tide. 
It isn't a fit place for girls, either!" he added 
largely. 

"It is!" retorted the exasperated Frances. 
"If it wasn't, Miss Connie wouldn't have been 
there." 

"I'd wager that Miss Connie did everything 
Mr. Max did," chuckled Win. "But the Col- 
onel said to-day that the cave was out of the 
question so far as any hidden chest was con- 
cerned, — that it couldn't have escaped discov- 



IN THE VAULTS 195 

ery all these years. I don't really expect to 
find anything, Mother, but it will be great fun 
to look. I've always wanted to search for hid- 
den treasure, you know. And Miss Connie 
seemed as interested as I was. She has ap- 
pointed next Wednesday afternoon to explore 
the vaults. We are all to come at three and 
stay for tea afterwards. At first she suggested 
that we have it in the cellars, said it would be 
nice and cobwebby and befitting a treasure 
hunt, but then she remembered that Yvonne 
was afraid of spiders and wouldn't fancy tak- 
ing the tea things down," he ended with a 
laugh. 

Win was tired that evening and went up- 
stairs early. When Roger clattered into the 
adjoining room half an hour later, his brother 
called. 

"Oh, you, Roger,' ' he said, "come in here a 

jiff." 

With a terrific yawn, Roger appeared in the 
doorway. Win was in bed, a lighted lamp on a 
table by his pillow. 

"Could I get down to that cave?" he asked. 

"You could get down," Roger remarked 
judicially. "It's rather steep but there's only 



196 THE SPANISH CHEST 

one bad rock. Still, ' ' he added, ' l if you waited 
till the tide was even lower, you could walk 
round that. When we came back from our 
swim, that bit of cliff was out of water. It 
would be some tug crawling up, but you could 
take it easy." 

"I'd give a good deal to get down there," 
said Win thoughtfully. "How was it inside? 
Much climbing? Any place where a box could 
be tucked out of sight?" 

Roger proceeded to describe the interior of 
the cave, arousing Win's interest still more. 

"I don't suppose there's hide nor hair of 
that chest around," he admitted, "but all the 
same, I want to take a look. The tide is full 
every morning now and it will be the end of 
the week before we can get down. As soon as 
we can, I wish you'd do the pilot act." 

"Oh, I'll show you," assented Roger, again 
yawning prodigiously. "I don't take any 
special stock in this hidden chest, but the cave 
is fine and I'll like to take a whack at the Manor 
cellars. Are you going to burn that lamp all 
night?" 

"I am going to read for a while," said his 
brother, taking a book from under his pillows. 



IN THE VAULTS 197 

1 i Shut the door into your room if it annoys 
you. ' ' 

"It doesn't," answered Eoger. "I can see 
to undress by it better than with my candle. 
Ridiculous to have only candles in bedrooms! 
Mother would give me Hail Columbia if I read 
in bed the way you do. ' ' 

Win suppressed a sigh. "Mother knows I 
read only when I can't sleep," he said shortly. 
"You may not believe it, but I'd much rather 
sleep." 

Wednesday afternoon found an expectant 
quartette walking up the Manor road, slowly 
because Win paused occasionally to regain 
breath, but there were so many lovely things 
to look at that no delay seemed irksome. To 
begin with were fascinating cottages with neat 
little box-edged gardens and straw-thatched 
roofs; curious evergreen trees with stiff jointed 
branches known locally as monkey-puzzles; 
there were pretty children, some of whom 
waved hands of recognition; there were sky- 
larks singing in the blue above, their happy 
notes falling like musical rain; there were big 
black and white magpies and black choughs, 
rooks and corbies, now known to the young 



198 THE SPANISH CHEST 

people by their English names. And always 
there were glimpses of the ever-changing, 
changeless sea. 

Eoger, who had gradually forged ahead, re- 
mained leaning over a low cottage wall until 
the others came up. In the yard sat a woman 
milking one of the pretty, soft-eyed Jersey 
cows, but what held Roger's fascinated atten- 
tion was her milk-pail. 

Instead of the ordinary tin receptacle famil- 
iar to Roger during country summers, she had 
an enormous copper can with a fat round body, 
rather small top and handle at one side like a 
bloated milk-jug. Over the top was tied 
loosely a piece of coarse cloth and on this rested 
a clean sea shell. Streams of milk directed into 
the shell slowly overflowed its edges to strain 
through the cloth and subside gently into the 
can. 

' "That's something of a milk pail," observed 
Roger approvingly. 

"It's just like the hot- water jugs Annette 
brings in the morning," said Frances, "only 
ten times bigger. Wouldn't it be lovely for 
goldenrod and asters? I'm going to ask 
Mother to buy one." 



IN THE VAULTS 199 

"Pretty sight you'll be walking up the dock 
at Boston with that on your arm," jeered 
Roger. "It will never go in any trunk and 
you'll have to carry it everywhere you go. You 
needn't ask me to lug it, either." 

"It can be crated and sent that way," said 
Frances calmly. 

"Those hot-water jugs make me tired," 
Roger went on as they continued their walk. 
"I'm sick to death of having a quart of luke- 
warm water in a watering-pot dumped at my 
door every morning. Think of the hot water 
we have at home, gallons and gallons of it, 
steaming, day or night!" 

Edith looked politely incredulous. "How 
can that be?" she asked. "Do you keep coals 
on the kitchen fire all night?" 

"Coals!" snorted Roger. "All we have to 
do is to turn a faucet and that lights a heater 
and the water runs hot as long as you leave it 
turned on. No quart pots for us!" 

"But surely," said Edith, "only very wealthy 
people can have luxuries like that." 

1 ' We 're not made of money but we have it, ' ' 
retorted Roger. "Even workmen have hot- 
water heaters in their houses." 



zoo THE SPANISH CHEST 

From Edith's face it was plain that she 
frankly didn't believe him and Win tried to 
make matters better. 

"You see, Edith/ ' he explained, "it is much 
more difficult in the United States to get satis- 
factory servants and so we have all sorts of 
clever mechanical devices that make it easier 
to manage with fewer maids.' ' 

Edith's brow cleared. "Oh, I see," she said. 
"I thought there must be some reason. Of 
course, if we needed them, we would have such 
arrangements in England." 

"England," declared Roger bluntly, "in 
ways of living is about two hundred years be- 
hind the United States!" 

"Roger!" exclaimed the shocked Prances. 

"Cut it out!" ordered Win. 

"It's true, anyway," retorted the annoyed 
Roger, "and there's another thing. We licked 
England for keeps in the Revolutionary War!" 

"Only because you were English your- 
selves!" flashed Edith before Roger's scandal- 
ized family could remind him of his forgotten 
manners. 

This retort disconcerted Rogfer and delighted 
Win. 



IN THE VAULTS 201 

"You've hit the nail on the head, Edith,' ' he 
declared approvingly. "England could never 
have been beaten except by her own sons. And 
England's navy has always ruled the seas." 

"How about Dewey wiping out the Spanish 
fleet at Manila?" demanded Roger still huffily. 

"That reminds me," said Win coolly. "I 
believe it was an English admiral who backed 
Dewey up at Manila when the Germans tried to 
butt in. After that battle somebody wrote a 
poem about it and wrote the truth, too. This 
is what he said: 

" 'Ye may trade by land, ye may fight by land, 

Ye may hold the land in fee; 
But go not down to the sea in ships 

To battle with the free; 
For England and America 

Will keep and hold the sea!'" 

As Win concluded, Edith's high color les- 
sened and Roger looked less pugnacious. Pres- 
ently, each stole a sly glance at the other, both 
were caught in the act and simultaneously 
laughed. So the party reached the Manor with- 
out disruption by the way. 

Constance, with a soft green sweater over her 
white frock, came to meet them. 



202 THE SPANISH CHEST 

"All ready for the fray! Leave your hats in 
the hall. You will need your woollies for we 
are going where sunlight never comes. There's 
good store of candles and two lanterns. Any- 
thing else needed, Win?" 

"A hammer perhaps," suggested Win. "We 
may want to sound walls." 

"A hammer there shall be," and Constance 
rang the bell to order it. "Dad says he will 
come down if we make any startling discovery, 
but being an elderly person, he's a bit shy of 
damp. ' ' 

Provided with lights and the hammer, the 
gay party started, filing through a kitchen so 
fascinating with its red-bricked floor and shin- 
ing copper cooking utensils that Fran found it 
hard to pass. Several maids and a jolly cook 
smiled on them as they vanished down the cel- 
lar stairs. 

' i I suppose you want to see the oldest part of 
the Manor vaults," Connie said to Win as she 
led the way with a candle in a brass reflector. 
"We shall come back through here." 

To Edith and Frances it seemed that they 
traversed numberless dark rooms, dry but 
chilly, some stored with vegetables and barrels, 



IN THE VAULTS 203 

while others were empty or showed dusky ap- 
paritions of old lumber. Constance stopped at 
last. 

"We are under the library now, Win. This 
is the original cellar and you can see how much 
rougher the workmanship is than in the newer 
parts.' ' 

Walls were rough and floor uneven, indeed, 
a part of it was composed of an outlying ledge 
of the Jersey granite. Obedient to suggestion, 
Roger and the girls began to inspect the walls 
for traces of some former exit; Roger by him- 
self, the girls, rather fearfully, together. Win 
stood looking at the ledge in the floor. 

"That settles there being any hiding-place 
underneath, ' ' he remarked. 

"Yes," said Connie, "but the paper said c be- 
yond the walls,' you know. So wouldn't it 
more likely be in one of the cellars not built at 
that time?" 

"Well, probably," assented Win. "But I 
was looking at the way this rock runs." He 
produced a pocket-compass. "It's much 
thicker at this end and the direction is approxi- 
mately north and south. What is to the east, 
Miss Connie?" 



204 THE SPANISH CHEST 

"Nothing at all. That wall is still the outer 
one." 

"And the wall farthest from the water?" 
asked Win quickly. 

Constance nodded. 

"Then it is the western wall I want," said 
Win, turning toward it. 

Somewhat mystified, Connie watched him 
make a minute examination, tapping with the 
hammer on its entire length. 

"I suspect that it's frightfully thick," she 
said as he stopped, looking disappointed. 

"What is on the other side?" he inquired. 
"Is this whole partition now included in the 
house?" 

Constance led the way to the opposite side of 
the wall. There lay a large apartment, dimly 
lighted, but of better workmanship and finish. 
Win went immediately to the eastern side of 
this cellar and bestowed upon the partition 
stones the same minute inspection. 

"This wall must really be several feet 
through," he observed to the watching Con- 
stance. 

"Probably. But I don't see, Win, what you 
are trying to get at." 



IN THE VAULTS 205 

"I hardly know myself, Miss Connie. It's 
just an idea I had. This would have been the 
wall nearest the cave. You see I'm not used to 
having a cave as a sort of household annex, so 
I can't help thinking it may figure yet in this 
business." 

Connie shook her head. "Perhaps it did 
once," she said. "Only that cave is more or 
less common property; many people know of 
it. We can be sure of one thing; that nothing 
will be found in it now. How about this floor ? ' ' 
Win left the wall to inspect by aid of his lan- 
tern the huge, roughly-squared blocks forming 
the cellar floor. Damp, dark and numerous 
they showed under the light. 

"It's possible that any one might conceal 
some cavity," said Connie. "But that one 
would surely differ in some way from the oth- 
ers. Let us spread out and inspect them. Any- 
body who finds a flag in any way peculiar, 
speak." 

Constance herself began to peer at the stone 
flooring, not at all because she expected to find 
anything in the least unusual, but because she 
did not want disappointment to fall upon Win 
too quickly. If he really searched thoroughly, 



206 THE SPANISH CHEST 

he would be better satisfied to acknowledge the 
quest as useless. 

Among the many scenes those centuries-old 
walls had looked upon, it is a question whether 
they had witnessed so gay a sight as the five 
young people, wandering slowly up and down 
the uneven floor, looking for some stone raised 
higher or sunken lower than the others, more 
carefully fitted; perhaps, though this could 
scarcely be hoped, provided with an iron ring 
for a handle. 

Nothing happened. No two of the many 
flags were alike, yet none seemed of sufficient 
distinction to mark it as worth further investi- 
gation. All looked as though they had never 
been moved. 

The other and more recent cellars received 
scanty attention. Of lesser age, they were also 
cleaner, drier and better lighted. 

"Our adventure seems fruitless," sighed 
Connie as they stood at last among bins and 
bottles near the kitchen stairs. "Why, where 
is Win?" 

Both Frances and Roger started back, 
ashamed to have forgotten him if only for a 
moment. Suppose poor Win had had one of his 



IN THE VAULTS 207 

attacks alone back there in that shadow-filled 
vault ! 

Win was found in the original cellar of the 
old Manor, not pacing the floor or tapping the 
stones, but meditatively staring at one of its 
walls, not the one he had devoted so much at- 
tention to, but the northern boundary. 

"What luck?" asked Connie as they came in, 
relieved at sight of him. 

"None," said Win, turning to her with 
curiously bright eyes. "But, Miss Connie, do 
you think your father would show me those 
plans again 1" 

"Why, of course he will. Has some idea 
struck you! " 

"I don't quite know," said Win. "But I 
should like to see the plans and perhaps some 
other day, you'll let me come down here again 
for a few moments." 



CHAPTER XV 

THE HAUNTED ROOM 

" There is a letter for you, Miss Edith/ ' said 
Nurse as the girls came in from school, the next 
Saturday. "It is for Miss Frances, too." 

"For us both?" exclaimed Frances. "Where 
from?" 

"Pierre brought it from the Manor," re- 
plied Nurse. 

"I can't get over there being no telephones 
in the houses here," remarked Frances, snatch- 
ing off her hat. "Imagine having to send a 
man with a note instead of just taking down a 
receiver and talking. Not to have telephones 
is so very English. ' ' 

"The English don't hold much with new in- 
ventions, Miss," Nurse agreed. "What was 
good enough for those before us does us very 
well." 

208 



THE HAUNTED ROOM 209 

1 * I know it ! ' ' sighed Fran, ' ' but think of the 

convenience of a telephone/ ' 

Edith was holding a dainty square note bear- 
ing the inscription: 

"Miss Edith Pearce, 
Miss Thayne, 

Rose Villa. 
A la main de Pierre." 

"From Miss Connie, of course,' ' said Edith 
delightedly. Each took a corner of the enclosed 
card and with several little squeals of amused 
pleasure, Frances read it aloud. 

"Miss Lisle presents her compliments to Miss Pearce 
and Miss Thayne and requests them to grant her the 
favor of attending a meeting of the Society for the Sup- 
pression of Ghosts to be held in the haunted room of 
Laurel Manor this evening at ten. 

Notes : 

Dinner 7:30. 

Beds provided at 9:45 (Ghost not guaranteed to appear). 

Very best nighties because of looking pretty for spooks. 

Breakfast any old hour." 

Screaming with delight, Edith ran to find 
Estelle, Frances for her mother. 

"But I don't know that I want you to sleep in 
a room that has the reputation of being 
haunted, Edith," protested Estelle. "Will 
Mrs. Thayne permit Frances to gof ' 

"Oh, Sister, there's some joke about it," 
pleaded Edith. "There must be, because Miss 



2io THE SPANISH CHEST 

Connie always laughs whenever the ghost is 
mentioned. And would her father let her sleep 
in that room if it was anything to frighten 
people? Oh, Star, it will be such fun!" 

Up-stairs, Frances was besieging her amused 
mother. Two minutes later, the girls met in the 
hall, dancing with glee, for each might go were 
the other permitted. 

"Dinner at the Manor, too!" sighed Frances. 
"What bliss !" 

Neither Estelle nor Mrs. Thayne had much 
peace from then until it was time to start. 
Finally the hour arrived and the family as- 
sembled in the hall to see them off, Win inter- 
ested and Eoger openly envious. "I'd like a 
chance at that ghost just once," he vowed. 
"I'd settle him." 

"Perhaps later, Miss Connie will invite you 
boys," said Edith. "Why, here's Pierre. Oh, 
he's come for our bags." 

To have a servant sent for their light luggage 
again struck Frances as most charmingly Eng- 
lish, and two very happy girls waved farewell 
to Rose Villa as they turned out of the terrace. 

In the great hall of the Manor, Constance 
greeted them, ceremoniously enough, but with 



THE HAUNTED ROOM 211 

mysterious smiles and twinkles. In person she 
conducted them to a pretty guest-room near her 
own apartments. 

1 'We won't invade the ghost's domain until 
time for bed," she announced gayly. " You '11 
find a bath adjoining and would you like Paget 
to do your hair or fasten your dinner frocks?" 
"We will help each other," said Edith, as 
full of twinkles as Connie herself. 

1 ' Then I will dress and come for you in about 
half an hour." 

"Isn't Miss Connie the dearest thing!" said 
Edith enthusiastically as the door closed. "I 
never saw anybody just like her before." 

"Mother thinks her charming," replied 
Frances, brushing her curly hair. "Edith, do 
you suppose we shall ever know the truth about 
that story of the Italian prince?" 

"It doesn't seem as though it were true," 
observed Edith. "Or at least, as though she 
cared very much if she had to break her en- 
gagement, for she is always so gay and happy." 
The face that was looking just then from the 
mirror in Connie's room did not precisely cor- 
respond to these adjectives, but the young mis- 
tress of the Manor was the daughter of a brave 



212 THE SPANISH CHEST 

soldier and the descendant of a long line of 
gallant gentlemen. Those slow weeks since 
Christmas that Constance crowded with gayety 
were bringing gradual healing. The heart 
under the fluffy frock she slipped on to-night 
was not so heavy as the one under the white 
gown worn that day when she stood by Win in 
the Manor library and watched the boat for St. 
Malo leave the harbor. 

Frances and Edith were ready when she came 
for them, also prettily dressed in white. 

"Nice little English flappers," Constance re- 
marked approvingly. "Why, what is the mat- 
ter with Frances ?" 

"I don't know what a flapper is," confessed 
Frances, sure however, that it could be nothing 
very dreadful. 

Constance laughed and patted the brown 
cheek. "Merely a jolly little English school 
girl with her hair down her back. Yours is 
tidily braided but Edith looks the typical 
flapper." 

She took a hand of each and three abreast 
they went down to the hall where Colonel Lisle 
was standing in a soldierly attitude before the 
fire. He greeted them with charming courtesy, 



THE HAUNTED ROOM 213 

offered Fran his arm and conducted her to the 
dining-room. 

Both girls were supremely happy, Edith 
quietly so, Frances fairly radiating enjoyment 
in the stately room with its fine old portraits 
and windows open to admit the sweet odors of 
myrtle and daffodils. 

" Don't think the Island winters are all as 
mild as this, ' ' the Colonel was saying as Yvonne 
removed the soup plates. "I have seen both 
snow and hail in Jersey and sometimes we have 
extremely cold weather. But you were asking, 
Frances, why French is the official language 
here. The Channel Islands came to the English 
crown with William the Conqueror, and have 
always remained one of the crown properties. 
So while the islanders are English they have 
French blood in their veins and each island has 
retained its peculiar historic customs, the offi- 
cial use of French being one. When Normandy 
was regained by France, the islands remained 
with England and though Jersey was fre- 
quently attacked and sometimes invaded by the 
French they never held more than a portion of 
it temporarily. Indeed, so much was a Norman 
or French invasion feared, that the islanders in- 



2i 4 THE SPANISH CHEST 

serted in the Litany an additional petition: 
1 From the fury of the Normans, good Lord, de- 
liver us!' " 

"We have seen the tablet in the Eoyal 
Square, marking the spot where Major Pierson 
fell in the battle of Jersey," said Edith, who 
shared Win's liking for history. 

"Ah, in 1781. That was the last French in^ 
vasion. Speaking of the Royal Square," the 
Colonel went on, "there is a curious custom 
connected with the Royal Court there, that 
might interest you. Any person with a griev- 
ance relating to property has a right to come 
into a session of the court and call aloud upon 
Rollo the Dane. The Cohue Royale, — the Court, 
— must listen and must heed. That is a very 
ancient relic of Norman rule in the Island. Oh, 
no, it is seldom resorted to. One does not 
lightly call Prince Rollo to one's aid. That is 
the final appeal when all other justice fails." 

Yvonne, who was waiting upon the table, re- 
appeared from a brief absence with a beaming 
face. 

"It is Monsieur Max who arrives," she said 
confidentially to Constance. 

"Max!" exclaimed Connie. "Why, how 



THE HAUNTED ROOM 215 

nice! Sha'n't he come directly, Dad? Tell him 
not to dress, Yvonne.' ' 

"By all means, tell him to come as he is," 
said the Colonel, his face lighting with pleasure 
at this news. 

"Pardon, m , sieur, ,, said Yvonne. "Mon- 
sieur Max already hastens to his room and says 
the dinner shall not delay, that he shall be 
fast, — ver' queeck." 

"Max can be fast," said Constance smiling. 
"Well, we will dawdle over our fish. I never 
thought of his coming,' ' she went on, watching 
Yvonne as she deftly laid another place beside 
Frances. "This must be one of the week-ends 
he promised. I wonder why he didn't warn 
us?" 

' ' I suppose there was no time to do so, ' ' said 
the Colonel. "Max knows he is welcome at any 
hour." 

Max was "queeck." The fish was only just 
finished when he came quietly into the room, 
dressed for dinner and looking not in the least 
as though he had recently stepped from a 
steamer. Edith and Frances watched eagerly. 
If they were still in deep ignorance concerning 
Miss Connie's Italian prince, this was surely 



216 THE SPANISH CHEST 

their chance to discover how matters stood be- 
tween their adored little lady and Mr. Max. 

Disappointment awaited them, for nothing 
could have been more commonplace than the 
greeting exchanged. Even the fancy of four- 
teen years could not construe Constance's 
"Hello, old boy!" and Max's nonchalantly of- 
fered hand into the slightest foundation for a 
romance. So far as outward appearances went 
Max was much more affectionate towards the 
Colonel, who did not disguise his marked pleas- 
ure at seeing him. 

With gay words for both girls, the new- 
comer slid into his seat. "I'm as hungry as a 
hunter, Connie," he announced. "Soup, 
Yvonne? Anything and everything that's 
going. Oh, it was rather a rough crossing, but 
it merely gave me an appetite. Where are the 
boys? Couldn't they come to this exclusive din- 
ner I Or am I butting in myself ? ' ' 

"You are," replied Constance mischievously, 
"but for Dad's sake, we will forgive you. The 
boys are not here for the simple reason that 
they were not invited. Having fortified our- 
selves with strong meat, the girls and I are 
going to brave the Manor ghost to-night." 



THE HAUNTED ROOM 217 

Darkness had fallen and with it a sense of 
the eerie over Fran. She was distinctly relieved 
to hear Max laugh at this announcement. 

"Do you really want to see the ghost V he 
asked, turning to her. 

"Crazy to,'' was Fran's prompt reply. "I 
wouldn't dare stay alone in that room, but with 
Miss Connie and Edith, I sha'n't be afraid. In- 
deed, I want dreadfully to see the ghost.' ' 

"You know yourself, Max, that it doesn't 
materialize every time it is invoked," began 
Constance. 

"I know it," said Max. "I only wanted to 
ascertain how keen the spook-hunters are. I 
slept in that room once for two weeks when the 
house was full and became much attached to 
his ghost-ship." 

"Sol told the girls, ' ' replied Constance with 
equal gravity. 

Edith and Frances were looking at each other 
in puzzled bewilderment but Max suddenly 
changed the subject. His eye had fallen upon 
Grayfur, the big cat that had purred himself 
into the room in the shelter of Yvonne 's skirts. 

"Hello, old chap!" he said, snapping his 
fingers. "Do you like cats, Frances?" 



218 THE SPANISH CHEST 

"No," confessed Frances. "I love dogs. 
Edith is the one who likes pussies. She is al- 
ways bringing stray kittens home." 

For some reason this statement seemed to 
amuse Max. To the surprise of the girls, he and 
Constance exchanged a smile. 

Ten o'clock struck before Edith and Frances 
found themselves, after a happy evening, again 
in the pretty guest-room. 

"Miss Connie, I am afraid you weren't ready 
to come up," said thoughtful Edith. "Didn't 
you want to stop longer with your father and 
Mr. Max?" 

"Max doesn't leave until Tuesday morning," 
Constance replied. ' ' Dad will love to have him 
all to himself for a good talk and smoke, and if 
Max has anything especial to say to me, there 
will be plenty of opportunities. I'm quite glad 
to come up." 

When she came for them, the girls were ready 
and the little procession started, three kim- 
onoed figures each bearing a lighted candle 
along the echoing halls to the haunted room 
above the library. Electricity had not trailed 
its illuminating coils above the first floor of the 
house so the big apartment looked spooky and 



THE HAUNTED ROOM 219 

shadowy enough, the candles placed on the 
mantel, quite lost in immense distances. Three 
white cots stood side by side in its centre. 

" First, we will fasten the door securely,' ' 
said Constance, suiting the action to the word. 
i ' Then we will take this electric torch and look 
about a bit." 

Careful inspection showed the room undoubt- 
edly tenantless, the handsome old-fashioned 
furniture offering no hiding-place for any in- 
truder. Like the library below, its walls were 
of paneled oak, with three large portraits set 
into the wood-work. One, a Lisle of Queen 
Elizabeth's time, looked down benignly, at- 
tired in doublet and ruff. 

"Miss Connie, how shall we know what to 
look for or expect?" asked Frances when the 
three were settled in their beds, lights out and 
the room illuminated only by the moon. 

"It wouldn't be wise to tell you," said Con- 
stance mysteriously. "All I'll say is that it is 
nothing at all disturbing or frightful. The few 
people who have seen or heard anything never 
knew at the time that it was a ghost. ' ' 

"But you will tell us in the morning?" asked 
Edith. 



220 THE SPANISH CHEST 

1 i Yes, J ' replied their hostess. ' ' I will tell you 
then, whether you see anything or not, and very 
likely you will not. But if you want to have 
the creeps and would truly enjoy them, I'll tell 
you something that really happened to me once 
in Italy." 

4 'Oh, do, do!" begged both girls in unison. 
"That would be simply perfect," added Edith, 
sitting up in bed, her fair hair floating about 
her shoulders and turning her more than ever 
into the likeness of an angel. 

"Some years ago, when I was about your 
age," began Constance slowly, "Dad and 
Mother and I were traveling in southern Italy, 
and Max was with us. He was with us a great 
deal, you know. We stopped one night at an 
old hotel that had once been a monastery, 
though it was different from the usual monas- 
teries because it was a place where sick monks 
came to be cured and to rest. 

"The location was wonderful, on a cliff over- 
looking the sea and though the place had been 
altered for the purposes of a hotel, it was still 
a good bit churchly. The partitions between 
the cells had been knocked out and additions 
built, but the hotel dining-room was the old 



THE HAUNTED ROOM 221 

refectory with stone walls and floor, and the 
wonderful garden was much as the monks left 
it. Such roses you never saw and such climb- 
ing vines and flowering trees. Oh, there's no 
place like Italy !" 

Constance stopped. The moonlight falling 
across her bed touched her face into almost un- 
earthly beauty. 

"We had connecting rooms that night,' ' she 
went on. ' * Dad and Mother took the corner one 
with two beds. Next was a tiny room where I 
was to sleep and Max's was beyond mine. All 
were originally cells opening on a terrace, cov- 
ered with roses and passion-flowers and looking 
down to the sea, which was shining with little 
silver ripples. 

"We'd had an especially happy day and I 
was so keyed up with enjoyment that I couldn 't 
go to sleep right away, but lay looking out at 
the flowers and the waves. Mother went 
through to see that Max was all right and then 
came back to kiss me. She closed the door into 
his room, but left open the one from mine into 
hers. 

"I remember hearing Mother and Dad laugh 
a little about something and I suppose I went 



222 THE SPANISH CHEST 

to sleep, because I woke very suddenly with a 
start, ail awake in a minute. ' ' 

Connie paused, this being the proper moment 
for a thrill. "What do you think I saw?" she 
asked impressively. 

"Oh, I can't imagine!'' gasped Frances, 
shivering in delighted anticipation. "Do go 
on!" 

' l Have you chills down your spine 1 ' ' laughed 
Constance. "In the moonlight right beside my 
bed, I saw a monk, dressed in white, the usual 
robe of the Dominicans. He had a wise, kind 
face, with a pleasant expression, and as I looked 
at him, he took my wrist very gently, and put 
his finger on my pulse." 

* ' Oh-h ! " said Edith, pulling the covers about 
her more tightly. ' ' Oh, Miss Connie, what did 
you do?" 

1 ' That frightened me, ' ' said Connie. ' ' Up to 
that time, I noticed only his pleasant, gentle 
look, but it seemed as though a bit of ice 
touched me and I gave a scream that brought 
Mother and Dad up standing. Of course, when 
they came hurrying in, nobody was visible. I 
made a big fuss, presumably because I wanted 
to be petted and coddled. 



THE HAUNTED ROOM 223 

"I told them about the monk and Dad at once 
thought that Max had been playing a joke on 
me. He stepped into Max's room, intending to 
be severe, but Max was sound asleep and be- 
sides, the door into his room squeaked so that 
he couldn't possibly have opened it without 
waking us all. 

1 ' Then they said I had the nightmare. Per- 
haps I did," said Constance with a smile, "but 
I can see yet the kindly face of that old monk. 
I didn't want to stay in my room, so Dad told 
me to go in with Mother and he 'd take my bed. 
We all settled ourselves again. 

"I was asleep or nearly so, feeling so comfy 
and safe in my bed close to Mother's when sud- 
denly she sat up straight and said l Richard ! ' in 
such an odd, startled tone. I woke and heard 
poor Dad piling out of bed again to come into 
our room. Mother sat there looking very 
troubled and holding one wrist in the other 
hand. She didn't say anything more, — neither 
of them did, — but I knew perfectly well that the 
old monk had been feeling her pulse." 

"And what happened in the morning?" de- 
manded Frances breathlessly. 

"Nothing at all," said Constance cheerfully. 



224 THE SPANISH CHEST 

' ' In the morning everything was beautiful and 
lovely as in no other country but Italy. Mother 
and I merely agreed that we had an odd dream. 
We did not stay a second night, for we were on 
our way back to Rome.'' 

1 ' Did you ever hear anything more about the 
monk!" asked Edith. 

" Years after/ ' said Connie dreamily, "we 
met some Americans in Switzerland who told 
us of a similar experience in this hotel. Later, 
I learned that Dad found out at the time that 
the place was reputed to be haunted by an old 
monk physician who turns up at intervals and 
feels people's pulses, and is often seen pottering 
about the garden in broad daylight. Monks 
are such a common sight in Italy that the hotel 
guests stop and converse with him, thinking 
him a gardener and never suspecting that he is 
a ghost.' ' 

"But the Manor ghost isn't like that?" 
asked Edith, who wanted reassurance. 

"Not a bit," said Constance. "As for that, 
there was nothing so very frightful or repellent 
about the monk. Don't you think we should 
go to sleep now and give his spookship his 
innings?" 



THE HAUNTED ROOM 225 

The girls agreed and silence fell over the big 
room with its three white beds. Outside the 
open casements a vine waved within Fran's line 
of vision, tapping gently against a window 
pane. 

Presently a slight sound caught Fran's wake- 
ful ear, as of steps on a somewhat unfamiliar 
stair where it was necessary to grope one's way. 
Touching Edith's shoulder, she sat up in bed. 
They had entered the haunted room by a door 
now locked, opening on a big stone staircase; 
these steps seemed upon muffled wood. 

Next moment there came a sudden convulsive 
sneeze that sounded in her very ear. Frances 
gasped but Constance sat up laughing. 

"No fair!" she exclaimed. 

For a second there was absolute silence, then 
somebody laughed, extremely close at hand, 
though yet behind a partition. The laugh was 
followed by the soft sound of retreating foot- 
steps. 

"What happened, Miss Connie?" begged 
Edith. 

"No ghost," said their hostess merrily. "I 
had forgotten. That was clever of Max." 

Silence again followed for a period, succeeded 



226 THE SPANISH CHEST 

by the sound of music in the garden below the 
windows, soft and very sweet. 

"Oh, is that the ghost V demanded Frances 
in great excitement. 

"Your mother will bless me for letting you 
stop awake all night, ' ' said Constance. She sat 
up, wrapped a white robe about her and stuck 
her feet into slippers. Upon the music came the 
sudden unearthly miaow of a cat. 

The noise sounded directly in the room and 
all three girls jumped. Constance laughed 
again. 

' i I might have known Max did not come into 
that passage for nothing/ ' she sighed. 
"Where's that electric torch !" 

Having turned on the flash-light, Connie ap- 
proached the large oil painting set into one side 
of the gloomy room, its base about a foot above 
the floor. She touched a knob on its frame and 
the portrait became a door opening outward 
and revealing a narrow, dusty winding stair 
descending to the floor below. On its top step 
sat the big cat, just opening its mouth for an- 
other howl. 

"Come in, Grayfur," said Constance. "Max 
brought you, didn't he? If he hadn't sneezed 



THE HAUNTED ROOM 227 

and given himself away, he'd have opened the 
door a crack and let you in." 

' Ts it a secret stair ? ' ' asked Frances, her eyes 
big with excitement. " Where does it go? 
Wouldn 't Roger be crazy over it ? ' ' 

1 i We will let him go up it,' ' answered Connie, 
swinging the portrait into place again. "The 
passage comes out below in the library. Max 
thought he would provide one ghost anyway." 

Putting the cat into the hall, she locked the 
door again and then stuck her pretty head from 
the window. 

' ' Max, ' ' she said severely, addressing the un- 
seen musician, "you are spoiling your fiddle 
and breaking your promise. You said you 
wouldn't be silly. Go to bed now like a good 
boy." 

The fiddle responded with two ear-splitting 
squawks. 

"Stop it!" commanded Constance. "There 
goes a string and it serves you quite right. 
You '11 have the bobbies coming to investigate if 
you don't leave off." 

The unappreciated serenader appeared 
squelched by this threat, for complete silence 
followed. 



228 THE SPANISH CHEST 

"Nothing more is at all likely to happen to- 
night,' ' said Constance, coming back to bed. 
"And I hope Max will go properly to his room. 
Now go to sleep, girlies, and in the morning, 
I'll tell you how the Manor ghost disports 
itself. " 



CHAPTER XVI 



THE MANOR GHOST 



In spite of a firm intention to remain awake, 
Frances soon fell into qniet slumber and knew 
nothing more until the next morning. February 
dawns in England are dark, but when she finally 
opened her eyes, the room was faintly lighted 
by the coming sun and her watch told her that 
it was after eight. 

Edith still seemed asleep, but from the bed 
at the left, Connie smiled back at her. For some 
reason known only to herself, their gay little 
hostess had decreed that Frances should take 
the centre bed. 

"Awake!" she whispered. "How's Edith? Is 
she still off I" 

As though she heard her name, Edith stirred, 
turned over and finally rose on one elbow. 

"Did you sleep well?" asked Constance. "We 
needn't get up unless you like. When we are 

229 



2 3 o THE SPANISH CHEST 

ready, Yvonne is to bring us breakfast in my 
sitting-room. We'll wash and put on boudoir 
caps and eat en negligee." 

At this delightful programme both girls be- 
came wide awake in an instant. 

"And you will tell us about the ghost ?" 
asked Frances. 

"I will," replied Constance, sitting up and 
gathering her pretty kimono about her, a lovely 
white Japanese crepe embroidered in gold with 
fire-eating dragons of appalling size. One 
stretched across the front as she fastened the 
folds. The girls also rose and put on their 
dressing-gowns. Unlocking the door, Constance 
looked into the hall. 

"I'll just see that the coast is clear before 
the procession forms," she remarked. "Daddy's 
rooms are down-stairs but Max 's is on our way. 
I'm quite sure though that he and Dad are al- 
ready out, for Dad likes to attend early service 
and Max has probably gone with him like a 
dutiful young man." 

As the three started, Edith turned to glance 
searchingly around. 

"What are you looking for?" asked Frances. 

"For the pussy," replied Edith, hurrying to 



THE MANOR GHOST 231 

overtake them. "I thought there was one in 
the room." 

"Miss Connie put it out," said Frances, 
laughing. l ' Wake up, Edith ! ' ' 

As Edith spoke, Constance stopped to look 
at her rather oddly, then went on quickly. 

"When you are ready, come to my sitting- 
room," she said on reaching their door. "It is 
at the end of this hall. ' ' 

When the girls appeared ten minutes later, 
Constance was yet invisible. In the sitting- 
room a table stood before a couch piled with 
pillows, and two cushioned chairs opened lux- 
urious arms. 

"Isn't this the dearest room, ,, said Frances 
appreciatively as she settled herself. "I sup- 
pose this is Miss Connie's own especial place 
where no one comes without an invitation." 

In some respects the room was very unlike 
the sanctum of the average girl. While not 
lacking in the daintiness bestowed by fresh 
flowers, gay chintz and white draperies, it con- 
tained a number of objects not often seen in a 
boudoir. On a teakwood stand in one corner, 
against the background of a valuable Oriental 
rug in shimmering greens and blues, sat a 



232 THE SPANISH CHEST 

curious Indian idol. Constance's desk might 
once have been used by some Italian princess in 
the days of Dante, and above it hung a beautiful 
silver lamp that could well cause envy in the 
breast of Aladdin. Pictures and ornaments 
alike spoke of wanderings in distant lands and 
from their unusual individuality indicated a 
wide range of interest in their possessor. 

The door into the adjoining bedroom opened 
and Constance came out attired in a lounging- 
robe that made both girls gasp with admiration. 

"Oh, Miss Connie,' ' Frances exclaimed, 
"what a beautiful kimono. And what color is 
it?" 

"Guess," said Constance merrily. "For a 
long time I didn 't know myself what to call it. ' ' 

"It isn't blue nor gray," said Edith admir- 
ingly. 

"Nor green nor violet," added Frances re- 
flectively, "and yet it is all of them. I've seen 
something like it but I can't think what." 

"I suppose only an Oriental artist could con- 
ceive such a combination," said Constance, 
ringing the bell for Yvonne and then curling 
into a little heap on the couch. ' ' Dad brought 
it to me from Paris and I keep it for very spe- 



THE MANOR GHOST 233 

cial occasions. I couldn't make out what color 
it was but I loved it the minute I opened the box 
and I knew you girls would. I've thought very 
seriously of having it made into an evening 
coat, for it is too lovely to be used only in my 
room. But about its color. One day this Christ- 
mas vacation I was feeling a bit poorly, so I 
had tea up here and let Dad and Max come. I 
slipped on this robe to receive them in state and 
the minute Max saw it, he told me what it was 
like. The thing is in plain sight." 

The girls glanced about the room. Edith's 
eyes lingered for a second on a brass bowl full 
of blue hyacinths, but passed on. 

"I have it!" exclaimed Frances, noticing a 
slight inclination of Connie's fair head toward 
the open casement. "It's the color of the 
ocean ! ' ' 

"Right!" said Constance. "The moment 
Max said so, I knew it. He did it very prettily, 
too, with some remark about the 'lady from the 
sea. ' The silk really does change and shade as 
the water under storm and sun." 

There came a tap and Yvonne, bearing a most 
tempting tray, entered with a smiling "Bon 
jour, mes demoiselles.'' 1 Fruit, a fat little choco- 



234 THE SPANISH CHEST 

late pot sending forth a delicious odor, and 
flanked by delicate china and shining silver, 
whipped cream, marshmallows, French rolls, 
sweet unsalted butter and raspberry jam, made 
the girls feel hungry at the mere sight. Dainty 
green and white snowdrops, tucked here and 
there by Yvonne's artistic fingers added the 
final touch. 

"I think this is the greatest fun," said 
Frances. ' i Do you always have your breakfast 
this way?" 

" Bless you, no," replied Constance. "This 
is an occasional Sunday morning indulgence. 
Every other day of the week, I am up, dressed 
and in my right mind to breakfast with my 
Dad. He'd think the world was coming down 
about his ears if his Connie wasn't there to pour 
his coffee. I warned him that we were going to 
have a debauch this morning and he won't care 
anyway, because he has Max. What did you 
mean, Edith, about a cat? Did you dream of 
Grayfur?" 

"Why, no, it wasn't Grayfur," said Edith, 
dropping a marshmallow into her chocolate and 
watching it dissolve. "I thought Mr. Max suc- 
ceeded in carrying out his joke. He must have 



THE MANOR GHOST 235 

come back much later and put another pussy in 
from behind the portrait. I woke some time in 
the night, oh, hours after, because the moon- 
light was 'way across the room, and sitting in it, 
washing its face, was the prettiest little half- 
grown kitten. It was a perfect beauty, white 
with a plumy tail. I spoke to it very softly so , 
as not to wake either of you, and it looked at me 
and purred but would not come. I watched it 
chase its tail for a little and then it jumped in 
a big chair and curled itself up to sleep. I sup- 
pose it must have gone out when the door was 
opened this morning. May we see it again, Miss 
Connie? It was much prettier than Grayfur. 
But do tell us now about the ghost. We are in 
such a hurry to hear. ' ' 

"You know practically all there is to know," 
said Constance whimsically. 

Both girls stared at her. "What do you 
mean?" asked Edith. "Is it a joke? Isn't 
there any ghost?" 

"You know better than I do," replied Con- 
stance, tasting her chocolate critically. "Did 
you have sugar, Frances? Why, you've seen 
the ghost, Edith, which is more than I can say. n 

Edith 's face was a picture of surprise. ' ' Seen 



236 THE SPANISH CHEST 

it?" she repeated. "Why, I saw nothing at 
all." 

1 i I told you, didn 't I, that the people who saw 
the ghost never knew it at the time? This is 
the legend. About a century ago, the Eichard 
Lisle, then owner of the Manor, married a very 
charming young wife. He was madly in love 
with her and was inclined to be rather jealous. 
The story runs that he couldn't bear to have her 
lavish affection on anything but him, was 
jealous of her dog and her horse and even of 
her flower-garden. "Winifred Lisle had a very 
pretty white Persian kitten — " 

Constance stopped, for Edith's spoon fell 
with a clatter. "You don't mean that darling 
purry little pussy was the ghost!" she ex- 
claimed. 

"Listen to the story," Constance went on 
smiling. ' ' Dick Lisle objected to even this wee 
kit since it took some of his Winifred's time and 
attention and he gave orders that it was never 
to be admitted to the room where they spent the 
evening, presumably the library. The kitten 
disappeared and Winifred mourned for it. 
Months later, its little corpse was found on the 
secret stairs behind the portrait." 



THE MANOR GHOST 237 

"Then Mr. Max didn't put a cat into the 
room?" asked Frances eagerly. 

"I think not, unless he took the trouble to 
bring a white kitten with him from Paris. Max 
is quite capable of doing it for a joke, but he 
could not know, you see, that we were planning 
to sleep in that room last night. And there is 
no white kitten about the Manor. ' ' 

"Isn't that the oddest story!" said Edith in 
deep interest. "Why, Miss Connie, I'm as sure 
as I am of anything that I saw that pussy play- 
ing in the moonlight. It was the sweetest little 
thing and I did wish it would come and cuddle 
by me in bed. Is it really a ghost ? How do you 
account for it?" 

"I don't account for it," said Constance. 
"You can consider it a pretty dream if you 
wish. I never saw it and I have a fancy that it 
is because I am not fond of cats. When Frances 
said she did not like them, I knew that she 
would not see the little ghost kit either, and so 
I wanted you to take the bed nearest the moon- 
light." 

"That's the most interesting thing that ever 
happened to me," said Edith. "I'm so glad I 
saw it." 



238 THE SPANISH CHEST 

"Whether it is imagination or dream, I 
rather like to think of the kitten ghost playing 
so gayly with its tail on moonlight nights,' ' 
said Connie. "No, only three or four people 
have seen it. The room is not often used, and 
like Edith, they supposed it a kitten that had 
somehow got in. Well, is the Manor ghost sat- 
isfactory ?" 

"I think it's the dearest thing I ever heard 
of, n said Edith happily. ' ' But do you suppose 
that Winifred's husband shut it in there de- 
liberately!" 

"We'll give him the benefit of the doubt. 
Cats are always poking about in odd places. 
The door in the library may have been open a 
crack and the kit gone in to investigate. Once 
I accidentally shut a kitten into a drawer in the 
linen closet. Luckily Paget happened to open 
it within an hour and she was surprised enough 
to find a pussy there. Now for the rest of the 
morning. I heard Frances say that she wanted 
to hear a church service in French just to see 
whether she could follow. If you like, I'll get 
Max to take us into town and we will find a 
French church to attend." 



THE MANOR GHOST 239 

"That would be lovely," declared Fran en- 
thusiastically. ' ' I really believe I could under- 
stand quite a little now. ' ' 

"Thank you, Miss Connie,' ' said Edith. "I'm 
afraid I ought to go home. Fran can stay just 
as well as not, but Sister depends upon me to go 
to church with her. I always do, you know." 

Edith colored and looked uncomfortable, feel- 
ing that perhaps she was being ungracious. 

"You're a good little sister," said Constance 
quickly. "And you would not care so much as 
Frances because you have always spoken 
French. I imagine Dad will go to St. Aubin's 
and he'll take you home. I'll make Max go 
with us." 

Max was perfectly willing to play escort, but 
looked dubious when Constance declared her 
intention of stopping at a tiny French church 
just inside the town of St. Helier's. "Have you 
ever been here?" he demanded. 

"No," admitted Constance. "Of course we 
might go to the Convent of St. Andre. I forgot, 
though, they wouldn't let you in. Frances 
only wants to hear a sermon in French and this 
will answer very well. ' ' 



2 4 o THE SPANISH CHEST 

Max still looked disapproving. "You won't 
like it," he said. "It's a queer, non-conformist 
sect of some kind. There's a place the other 
side of town where they have the Church of 
England service in French. Let's go there." 

"Why not stop here?" persisted Constance. 
"More exciting when one doesn't know what's 
coming next." 

"One may get more than one bargains for," 
commented Max. "Connie, I have a premoni- 
tion that we'll land in some mess." 

Connie made a delightful little face. "Come 
in, ' ' she said to Frances. ' ' I was under the im- 
pression that we invited Max to escort us." 

When Frances returned home from church, 
she was distressed to find Win in bed. 

"He overdid yesterday," said Mrs. Thayne 
in reply to her anxious questioning. "I can't 
discover exactly what happened, but he and 
Eoger were out together and Win walked too 
far. That's all he will admit. No, he isn't as 
badly off as sometimes, and says he only needs 
a rest. Come up in his room, Fran, to tell your 
adventures." 

To Fran's eyes Win looked decidedly ill when 
she saw him lying against his pillows, but he 



THE MANOR GHOST 241 

evaded all inquiries and demanded to know 
about the Manor ghost. 

' * That wasn't the end of our experiences," 
Frances went on laughing, when the events of 
the night had been thoroughly discussed. ' ' We 
had a funny time in that little church. Mr. Max 
didn't want to go there in the beginning, but 
Miss Connie insisted. Inside, it didn't look 
much like a church for it was a great bare room, 
with not many people present. The usher made 
us sit rather far front, so we had a good view 
of the minister, who was a little man with black 
hair that stood straight up, and his manner was 
very excited. 

" The service seemed unusual for different 
people kept getting up and talking. I couldn't 
understand much and Mr. Max looked annoyed 
and Miss Connie amused. Finally a boy about 
my age began to speak. He wore the oddest 
vest and trousers of rose-pink sateen plaided 
with purple. We could see distinctly because 
the minister made him come out in front and 
face the people. Well, the clothes he had on 
were enough to make any one smile, but when 
he finished speaking, the minister bounced out 
of the pulpit and kissed him on both cheeks! 



242 THE SPANISH CHEST 

He did, honest !" Fran insisted in answer to 
Roger's whistle of incredulity. 

"I don't know what would have happened 
next, for the service was really very strange, 
but when the minister kissed that boy, Mr. Max 
gave a little grunt and took up his hat. I was 
sitting between them, and he leaned forward 
and said in such a disgusted tone, 'My word, 
Connie, will you come?' 

' ' I think Miss Connie was trying not to laugh 
but I guess she'd had enough herself for she 
rose and we went out very quietly so as not to 
disturb anybody. 

"When we reached the street," Frances went 
on, "Mr. Max was so funny. He didn't say a 
word, only stalked along looking quite cross. 
Miss Connie sat down on a wall and laughed 
till she cried. Then she told Mr. Max to smile 
and show his dimple. But he wouldn't. I 
don't see how he could help it when she was so 
pretty and sweet. Well, after she laughed some 
more, she begged him please to look affection- 
ate. 

"At that he couldn't help smiling, and then 
he asked Miss Connie if she was ever going to 
stop getting herself and him into scrapes. She 



THE MANOR GHOST 243 

called him 'old boy' and said she was sorry, — 
she wasn't really," Fran interpolated with a 
wise nod, — "and promised to stick to the 
Church of England service ever after. Mr. 
Max inquired how much I understood and when 
I told him only a little, he said it was lucky. 
That was certainly a very peculiar church," 
Frances ended reflectively. "I'm quite sure 
that Mr. Max wanted to come out long before 
we did, and that Miss Connie persisted in stay- 
ing just to tease him." 

Win was smiling over his sister's story, but 
though he evinced interest both in the Manor 
ghost and in the amusing experience Connie had 
furnished with her little French church, the 
point that most impressed him was Max's pres- 
ence at the Manor. 

"I wish I could see him," he observed. "I 
want so much to ask a question or two. Did 
Miss Connie tell him about the paper I found 
and how we explored the vaults and sounded 
the walls?" 

"She did," assented Frances. "We talked 
about it after dinner. Mr. Max was as inter- 
ested as could be and said he was going down 
himself to take a look." 



244 THE SPANISH CHEST 

" Mother,' ' said Win suddenly. "I really 
need to see him. Don't you believe he'd come 
in for a minute if he knew I was used up so 
I couldn't get to the Manor?" 

" Indeed, I do," assented Mrs. Thayne. 
" Write a note, dear. Roger shall take it for 
you." 

Roger, who for some reason haunted his 
brother's room in a subdued mood not at all 
common to his usual attitude toward life, was 
very willing to act as messenger. Toward night, 
Max appeared at Rose Villa. 



CHAPTER XVII 

THE DOTTED LINE 

1 * Sorry you are laid by, old man, ' ' Max said 
cheerfully as he was shown into Win's room. 
"Better luck soon." 

"It's good of you to come," replied Win, 
grasping the hand so cordially offered and re- 
lieved to see that the pleasant young face bore 
no expression of the sympathetic pity Win so 
often read in older countenances. 

"Well, my being here is as much of a surprise 
to me as to any one,' ' said Max, sitting down by 
the bed. "On Friday I expected to spend my 
Sunday in Paris. But it chanced that I success- 
fully engineered a rather ticklish job for the 
Embassy, and the Chief was pleased. As a 
figurative pat upon the head he gave me the 
week-end off. You should have seen the way 
my car went to Granville! Jean drove till we 
were clear of Paris and then I took the wheel 

245 



246 THE SPANISH CHEST 

and things began to hum. From the tail of my 
eye I could see Jean devoutly crossing himself 
whenever we hit the earth, but we made the 
boat and didn't so much as run down a hen. I 
did wonder that we weren't held up anywhere 
for exceeding the speed limit, but the mystery 
was explained when we reached the Granville 
pier." 

Max stopped with a mischievous laugh. ' i The 
Embassy has several official machines,' ' he ex- 
plained, ' ' and of course they are so marked they 
are easily recognizable. I always use my own 
car, and am authorized to sport the Embassy 
insignia when on official business. I forgot to 
remove it before starting and that was why not 
a single gendarme did more than salute as we 
tore past. Good joke, so long as it ended well, 
but if we'd come a cropper on the way, there 'd 
have been rather a row and Max would have 
stood for an official wigging, to say the least. 
Lucky for us that nothing went wrong. What's 
done you up, old fellow?" 

Win looked at him wistfully. "Just explor- 
ing the Manor cave," he said with a sigh. "I 
did so want to see it, and I made Roger take me. 
I managed to get down all right, but it took 



THE DOTTED LINE 247 

over an hour to climb the cliff. The kid is wild 
because he thinks he's half -killed me." 

"Oh, say, that's a shame," said Max. "I 
wish I'd known that you wanted to go. Pierre 
and I could have rigged a rope somehow and 
helped you get back." 

Win's face just then was pitiful. Max's eyes 
grew very gentle but he did not utter one word 
of sympathy. " I 've been led a lively pace since 
I reached the Manor," he went on. "Between 
Connie's ghost hunt and the extraordinary 
church she chose to attend this morning and 
your discovery in the library, my existence 
hasn't lacked variety. Gay Paris is quiet be- 
side this! But there's nothing in the world I'm 
so keen on as hidden treasure. I'm pretty sure 
I have a special talent for hunting it down. To 
be sure the only time I ever tried, I made a 
giddy ass of myself and got into a jolly mess, 
but I wonder will I succeed with this. Connie 
thinks you've the tail of an idea. Can't you put 
me on?" 

"That was what I wanted to see you for," 
replied Win, his self-possession quite restored. 
"Please open the lower drawer of that desk. 
Right on top is a roll of tracing paper." 



248 THE SPANISH CHEST 

"Why, this is a copy of the Manor plans, " 
said Max, as he spread out the thin sheet. 

' ' Yes, ' ' said Win. * ' Colonel Lisle let me trace 
them. Tell me, does anything about them 
strike you as odd ? ' ' 

Max considered the plan carefully. "I can't 
say it does, ' ' he admitted after a minute survey. 
• ' Give me a lead. ' ' 

"That dotted line," said Win, pointing to it 
with Max 's pencil, ' ' according to Colonel Lisle, 
marks the path down to the cottages on the 
shore, only the path curves more now than it 
did when the plan was first made. Don't you 
think it strange that it was the only path put on 
the plans? Even the state driveway isn't indi- 
cated.' ' 

"That, I suppose, wasn't made then." 

"But surely," persisted Win, "there was 
some driveway to the main road. Why should 
this especial path be marked? It couldn't have 
been the most important, even at that time." 

1 ' That does seem true, ' ' replied Max thought- 
fully. 

1 ' Now look at the point where the dotted line 
comes to the house," Win went on, tracing its 
course as he spoke. "This is the very oldest 



THE DOTTED LINE 249 

vault of all, under the library, you know. On 
the plan, its northern wall is continued flush by 
the northern side of the addition made later, 
and this dotted line runs parallel to it, but — it 
runs inside the foundations. ' ' 

"So it does," Max agreed. "But isn't that 
due to clumsy drawing? There's an axiom, you 
know, about it being impossible for two bodies 
to occupy the same space. Two lines couldn't 
occupy the same location on a plan." 

"Yes," said Win, "but if this is a path, 
what is it doing inside the house 1 ' ' 

There followed a second of silence and then 
Max gave a low whistle. "I'm on," he an- 
nounced. "Clever reasoning, Win." 

"There's another thing, too," said Win, 
lying flushed and pleased against his pillows. 
' ' I spent a lot of time on that dividing partition 
wall. I'm sure there is no space in it unless it 
is so thick that even a hollow place wouldn't 
sound any different. But after I looked again 
at the plans, I saw that what I should have put 
my time on wasn't that wall at all, but the 
northern one, indicated here as parallel to the 
dotted line. Mr. Max, I'm quite certain that the 
old original cellar extends farther to the north 



250 THE SPANISH CHEST 

than this newer part. I mean that the north 
wall of the new cellar isn't on a line with the 
old one, not in reality, though here it is intended 
to look so." 

"You mean," said Max, bringing intelligent 
brows to bear on this explanation, "that this 
was an underground passage rather than a sur- 
face path and that its northern side is the one 
flush with the original cellar ?" 

"That's exactly it," said Win. "I think 
there is a passage running along outside that 
northern wall down to the cave and the beach. 
There seems a space on the plan that isn't ac- 
counted for in any other way, and that explains 
why this dotted line runs inside the founda- 
tions. ' ' 

"But, old chap," said Max kindly, "I know 
that cave from top to bottom. Truly there is 
no exit. I've spent hours in exploring the 
place." 

"But when I was on the ledge at the back, 
there was a draught of fresh warm air from 
somewhere," Win pleaded. "And Roger said 
he noticed it when you took him there. Behind 
the ledge is a big pile of stones and rubble. 
Couldn 't that air get in somehow 1 ' ' 



THE DOTTED LINE 251 

1 ' It must, since you felt it, ' ' agreed Max sen- 
sibly. "If I can possibly manage it, I'll make 
an investigation. But I am booked to sail on 
Tuesday morning. It may have to stand over 
until the Easter holidays. I will take a squint 
at the cellar though this very evening. Did you 
sound that north wall?" 

"No, I didn't," Win admitted. "I spent all 
my time on the west one. Not until I studied 
the plans again, did it fully dawn on me that 
perhaps that line was a passage instead of a 
path. If that is true, it is the other wall that 
will bear investigation. ' ' 

Max still surveyed the plans, his fine young 
face intent on this problem. He glanced up to 
meet a very wistful look from Win. 

"On the whole, let's wait until Easter," he 
suggested. "Then you'll be feeling more fit 
and can come down in the vaults with me. ' ' 

"I wish you'd inspect that wall," Win re- 
plied. "If you find it does sound hollow, will 
Colonel Lisle let us punch a hole?" 

"Sure," said Max encouragingly. "I know 
jolly well he will. Uncle Dick will be game for 
any investigation. Only he'll have to be con- 
vinced that I'm not pulling his leg. If that 



252 THE SPANISH CHEST 

north wall resounds like a tomb, I'll tow Uncle 
down to hark for himself. Why, man, we're 
getting on swimmingly! That was a mighty 
clever idea of yours about the dotted line. Con- 
nie '11 be keen on it too, and anyway she owes 
me one after getting me into such a beastly mess 
as she did to-day. I didn't even use unkind lan- 
guage about it either. If the sea is decent to- 
morrow, I'll trot her down to the cave to see 
where your fresh air comes from. ' ' 

"Perhaps it can be felt only when the wind 
is from a certain direction, ' ' observed Win. 

"That's more than likely. Yesterday it was 
south, wasn't it! Very probably it takes a 
south wind to strike in there. I'm afraid we 
can't hope for that to-morrow because there 
seems a storm brewing, on purpose probably to 
give me a rough trip on Tuesday." 

"Weren't you glad of the chance to come?" 
asked Win. 

"I was," said Max expressively, "not only 
because I always like to get back to the Manor, 
but because I was pleased with myself to think 
I'd scored with this especial bit of work, a job 
of smoothing down an elderly ass who was in- 
clined to be a trifle footy. You see when I de- 



THE DOTTED LINE :_:_- 

i to go in for the diplomatic service. Dad 
told me that he would use his influence only to 
^* -: me an appointment, a try-out. After that 
it was up to me; if I received promotion it 
—■-."'A :- :r;iv.; — I t:-::.-:: ::. :: _ : '-->;v>- Z — - 
^on. He makes me an allowance because 
one really couldn't manage on the salary of an 
R'r.-.Ai. v \:: - :::' — 117 yr::-> — :::. - — . I 
stand absolutely on my own merits. So Max 
is feeling proud of himself just now!" he added 
- = \" -- I:..;:, if 117 :-r.erran 

reached him." 

"He must be proud of you," said Win rather 
soberly. ' ' I so much hope that Boger will con- 
descend to go to Annapolis. You see I cant, 
and Dad would like one of us in the nav- 

* Roger will wake up to a sense of his privi- 
leges some da 7 id Max. "Do you know, 
Win, some of the finest work in the world has 
been done by the fellows who were handicapped. 
I :, for instance, writing all his histories, 
blind in one eye and sometimes half crazed by 
pain; Milton, too, dictating to his daugt 
and Scott, producing so much when he was old 
and burdened with grief and trouble. And 



254 THE SPANISH CHEST 

"But they were geniuses,' ' said Win. 

"They were also too courageous in spirit to 
yield to circumstances. To come down to more 
ordinary people, I think Uncle Dick is mighty 
fine. He is crippled, useless for the work he 
expected to grow old in; he saw his only son 
die for England. You have seen enough of him 
to know what he is and what he means not only 
to Laurel Manor but to the Island. I respect 
and admire him tremendously and I shall owe 
much of whatever success I score, to him as well 
as to Dad. There are careers open to you, Win. 
You are clever and have a fine mind. Roger 
defers to your opinion. Through your influ- 
ence, he may accomplish far more than he might 
alone. ' ' 

"I don't amount to very much with Roger. 
Still, I did make him square things with Fisher 
that day he played truant and went off with 
you," admitted Win with the ghost of a smile. 
"Mother only lectured him for bunking, but I 
persuaded him to apologize and to put in the 
next Wednesday doing the work he skipped. ' ' 

"Good for you!" said Max cordially. His 
gray eyes were very kind and friendly as he 
rose to leave. 



THE DOTTED LINE 255 

"I hope you'll feel more fit to-morrow, ' ' lie 
said, shaking hands. "If I possibly can, I'll 
run in and make a report; if not, I'll drop a line 
when I get home to the lurid lights of Paris. " 

* l Shall you drive back with the Embassy in- 
signia on your car 1 ' ' inquired Win smiling. He 
looked much brighter and happier than before 
his visitor came. 

Max laughed. "I fancy not," he said as he 
gathered hat, gloves and riding-crop. "I'm 
rather anxious to be on my good behavior. No, 
I'll let Jean drive which will be prudently slow, 
and I'll meditate about your hidden chest and 
the dotted path and other things back at the 
Manor. ' ' 

"I believe Mr. Hamilton did you more good 
than the doctor," declared Mrs. Thayne, enter- 
ing Win's room after his caller had mounted 
Saracen and ridden away. "You look fifty per 
cent brighter." 

"He's a cracker jack, " said Win briefly. 
"He's promised to do some investigating on his 
own account and I feel sure that he can induce 
Colonel Lisle to let us try an experiment if it 
is needed. But, Mother, there's something I've 
been meaning to tell you all day, not about the 



256 THE SPANISH CHEST 

Spanish chest or anything to do with it. You 
know we spoke once of how Miss Estelle re- 
minded us of some one at home. This morning 
instead of sending a servant with my breakfast, 
she brought it herself, and when she was ar- 
ranging things, I remembered whom it is she 
looks like. It is your friend, Mrs. Aldrich. ,, 

"Win, you're right,' ' said Mrs. Thayne sud- 
denly. "Estelle is like Carrie Aldrich, and not 
in looks alone, but in manner. Now how can 
that possibly be 1 Of course it is only a chance 
resemblance but it must exist since you notice 
it, too. I wonder whether Fran ever carried out 
her intention of asking Edith whether they had 
any relatives in the United States. She spoke 
of doing so." 

"What good would that do, if Mrs. Aldrich 
is the person Estelle resembles V 9 asked Win. 
' ' Haven 't you known her all her life ? ' 9 

"I met her at school/ ' replied his mother, 
"when we both were young girls and then knew 
her intimately. Of later years, we have seen less 
of each other, though we have always kept up 
the friendship. There seems no possible con- 
nection between Carrie Aldrich and Estelle and 
the likeness must be only in our minds. They 



THE DOTTED LINE 257 

say, you know, that every person in the world 
has a double somewhere." 

"I'd like mighty well to be Mr. Max's double 
if I could only choose," muttered Win to him- 
self. 



CHAPTER XVIII 

ROGER THE MAROONED 

No word came from the Manor the next day, 
only a big bunch of fragrant lilies for Win and 
some jelly of which Paget alone knew the secret 
recipe. Early Tuesday morning Max's prophe- 
sied storm arrived in earnest and the young peo- 
ple at Rose Villa saw the Granville boat leave 
her pier amid sheets of driving rain. Her decks 
looked dreary and deserted, for all the pas- 
sengers were inside. 

"I suppose Mr. Max is on board for he was 
obliged to go," observed Frances, as the steamer 
disappeared in low-hanging banks of fog drift- 
ing continually nearer shore. 

"Yes," agreed Win, who was dressed and 
about, though still looking ill. "There will be 
some word when he gets back to Paris. It 
stormed so yesterday that he probably couldn't 
go into the cave as he planned. ' ' 

258 



ROGER THE MAROONED 259 

"Life seems very tame after all the interest- 
ing things that happened last week," sighed 
Frances, gathering her French grammar and 
other school books. "Rain or no rain, there will 
be school, and English rain seems somehow 
wetter than American. You'd better eat that 
jelly, Win. According to Nurse, it is the elixir 
of life and warranted to cure every ill known 
to man." 

"Win smiled as he watched his sister and 
Edith down the steps, and waved a listless hand 
as they turned inquiring faces under bobbing 
umbrellas at the end of the terrace. He looked 
enviously after Roger, a tall slim clothespin in 
black rubber coat and boots, souVester pulled 
firmly over his head, tramping sturdily toward 
the beach, evidently on some definite errand. 
Win would have liked mightily to be swinging 
along with him through the storm, but the fun 
of facing a tempest was not for Win. 

For a few moments he stood idly by the win- 
dow, wondering whether Connie knew what 
Max had possibly discovered in his inspection 
of cave and vaults. Then he turned with a 
sigh, reminding himself that with the weather 
what it was, and in this land of few telephones, 



260 THE SPANISH CHEST 

there was no chance of hearing anything from 
the Manor. 

Gradually the stormy morning passed, some- 
what dully for Win, who still felt unfit to study 
or even to occupy himself with a book, and lay 
upon the couch while his mother read aloud. 

Frances returned from school, ravenously 
hungry and quite rosy with the rain that had 
beaten in her face. 

1 ' Mother, I am nearly starved!" she an- 
nounced. 

"Why, it is time for luncheon, ,, said Mrs. 
Thayne, awakening to a realization of that fact. 
"But where is Roger? He can't have taken the 
whole morning just to deliver that message for 
Estelle. ,, 

1 ' He could easily, Mother, ' ' said Win. ' l Why, 
if I had a chance to get out in this storm, I 
feel sure it would take me forever to do the 
simplest errand. He'll come home when he's 
hungry. ' ' 

The gong for luncheon sounded and the three 
sat down to Annette's delicious scallops, dain- 
tily creamed in their own big shells, her French 
bread and perfect chocolate. Still Roger did 
not come. 



ROGER THE MAROONED 261 

Nurse took the plates, and brought dessert; 
fruit, clotted cream with plum jam, and a spe- 
cial glass of egg-nog for Win. 

1 ' Shall we put Mr. Roger 's lunch to the fire ? ' ' 
she asked of Mrs. Thayne. 

' 'I don't see why he doesn't come. He can't 
have gone to the Manor and if he had, they 
would have sent word if he were staying. No, 
you needn't keep it warm, Nurse. Unless he 
has some very good excuse when he comes, he 
may lunch upon bread and milk. It's really 
very naughty of him to go off like this when 
he had lessons to learn." 

" It 's queer where he can be, ' ' observed Fran. 
"He started on his errand just after Edith and 
I came out and saw Annette buying scallops 
of the fish-woman. He's crazy about them you 
know, and he asked particularly if they were 
for luncheon, and told her to be sure to get 
plenty." 

"Oh, I don't suppose anything has hap- 
pened," said Mrs. Thayne quietly, for she did 
not wish Win to worry. 

When Roger was still missing half an hour 
later, Mrs. Thayne sought Estelle. 

"Whatever can have happened?" said Es- 



262 THE SPANISH CHEST 

telle helplessly. "I can't think. Did he have 
any money! " 

"Why, perhaps a few pence, not much any- 
way," replied Mrs. Thayne. "Yon think he 
went into St. Helier's and had to walk back? 
That's possible. Fran, it's not storming so 
hard now. Put on your rain-coat and run out 
to the end of the terrace. Perhaps with the 
field-glasses you can make out whether he is 
coming down the beach or is anywhere in 
sight." 

Frances returned with the report that there 
was practically no beach, owing to the high 
tide, and no foot-farers on the narrow strip 
that was visible in the fog. 

Neither Estelle nor Mrs. Thayne knew what 
was best to do. Estelle suggested the police 
and then the rector, but neither seemed to Mrs. 
Thayne likely to offer a solution. 

"We will wait a while," she said with an 
anxious glance at the clock just striking two. 
"Don't do or say anything to let Win think I 
am worried, Fran. Let me take your coat. 
I'll go down to the beach myself. I really 
think that Roger should be punished for caus- 
ing us such anxiety." 



ROGER THE MAROONED 263 

Had his mother only known, Roger was al- 
ready enduring considerable self-inflicted pen- 
ance for getting into a predicament which made 
it impossible for him to return. 

Delivering Estelle's message at a cottage by 
the shore had taken but a few moments and with 
most of the morning before him, Roger set out 
along the beach, glorying in the force of wind 
and rain. True, there were lessons to be pre- 
pared for Bill Fish, who would come cheer- 
fully swimming in at the appointed hour, but 
there was surely time for a stroll toward Noir- 
mont Point. 

The tide was far out and wet hard sand 
stretched in every direction, very pleasing to 
stamp over, and retaining little trace of any 
footprint. Only gray gulls and drifting fog 
banks distinguished the immediate surround- 
ings. 

As Roger tramped on, he noticed that the 
fog grew steadily thicker and that his path in- 
cluded occasional seaweed-covered rocks, but 
not until a black mass loomed up before him, 
did he realize that he had left the true beach 
and was walking straight out to sea. The 
bulk he had encountered was not the martello 



264 THE SPANISH CHEST 

tower on Xoirmont Point but the old castle of 
St. Aubin's, at high tide an island in the bay. 

Xo thought of any danger in his position 
struck Soger. He had always intended to in- 
vestigate that island but somehow had never 
yet done so. Here it lay before him. 

Climbing the rocks upon which the castle 
stands, he made a careful survey of its outside 
and finally gained access to the interior, much 
disappointed to find nothing at all remarkable, 
though St. Aubin's castle is not wholly a ruin 
and was once rented and occupied for a season 
by an eccentric Englishman. 

Nothing was now visible save swirling fog 
and for the first time, Roger realized what that 
fog meant. He hastily made his way to the 
little beach, where the tide, still out, would per- 
mit him to cross to the mainland. To start in 
the right direction was simple enough, for he 
very well knew which side of the castle faced 
the shore, but he had taken scarcely twenty 
steps down the sand when he saw that he had 
no certainty of keeping his bearings once the 
island was left behind. 

Roger was only twelve, but he was possessed 
of common-sense and self-reliance. Though 



ROGER THE MAROONED 265 

the youngest of the family he had been so 
thoroughly impressed with the necessity of con- 
sidering " safety first' ' in regard to Win, that 
in an emergency of any kind he was usually 
level-headed. He stopped where he was, 
searching his pockets for the compass Captain 
Thayne had given to each of his three children. 

Roger's pockets yielded a strange and varied 
assortment of objects, presumably of value, but 
no compass. He looked irresolutely behind 
where the castle was just visible as a darker 
spot in the fog. Nothing at all could be dis- 
tinguished ahead. 

From the lighthouse on the point came the 
tolling of a bell, but its warning tones were 
so scattered and disguised by the fog, that 
its sound was of no use as a guide. 

For several moments Roger stood where he 
was. The distance to shore was not great if 
he was only certain of going straight ahead. 
To swerve from that direction meant wander- 
ing out to meet the cruel Jersey tide, presently 
coming in like a hunter on its prey. To remain 
where he was meant anxious hours for his 
mother and for Win, about whom Roger was 
already so much concerned. 



266 THE SPANISH CHEST 

Having weighed the alternatives, he took five 
steps forward and stood absolutely surrounded 
by the whirling mist. A sort of horror came 
over him, a keen realization of his helplessness 
before one of the great elemental forces of 
nature. The risk was too great! There was a 
chance that he might keep in the right direc- 
tion with nothing to guide him, but it was only 
a chance. Worried as his mother would doubt- 
less be, better that she endure a few hours of 
anxiety than lasting grief. 

Turning squarely about, Roger retraced his 
footsteps, already faint, to the castle, where he 
perched forlornly on a high rock. A little 
later, he heard for he could not see, the low hiss 
and gurgle of the coming tide. Roger was a 
big, strong, brave boy, but at the sound, he 
could not suppress a few tears, and they were 
not wholly for his own plight. 

Mrs. Thayne returned from her fruitless ex- 
pedition to the beach, looking still more dis- 
tressed. 

"I can't imagine where Roger is," she said 
anxiously to Frances. ' l Of course, there may be 
some good excuse for this performance, but I 
don't see what it can be. He knows that he is 



ROGER THE MAROONED 267 

not to go into town without permission and it 
seems as though he would have come home for 
luncheon unless he was in St. Helier's. If he 
really has been disobedient and played truant 
again into the bargain, I shall ask Mr. Fisher 
to punish him." 

"Oh, Mother/ ' said Frances, "Roger 
wouldn't deliberately frighten us, especially 
when he's been so upset over Win." 

"But where is he?" said Mrs. Thayne again. 
"Thank goodness! Here's Mr. Fisher." 

She hurried down to intercept the tutor at 
the door. Lingering at the head of the stair, 
Frances heard her name called from Win's 
room. 

"Is Mother dreadfully troubled!" he asked 
as she entered. "I think Roger went back to 
the cave and has been shut in." 

"Oh, I hope not," said Frances. "Mother's 
annoyed but it seems to me he must be all 
right. When he gets ready he will turn up 
with some wonderful tale of adventure." 

"I suspect he's in some scrape," said Win. 
"Might not be such a bad idea to appeal to the 
police after all. I only wish I wasn't such a 
helpless stick," he added rather bitterly. 



268 THE SPANISH CHEST 

"Mr. Fisher has gone down to the beach," 
reported Frances from the window. "I'm 
glad he's come, for Mother will feel better to 
have him to consult." 

Both were silent for a moment, thinking of 
Eoger, blunt, loyal, impulsive Roger, hoping 
that nothing serious had befallen him. 

Presently Mrs. Thayne came, her face ex- 
pressing a calm she did not feel. "Mr. Fisher 
thinks there is no cause for us to worry," she 
remarked placidly. "He is going to take what 
he calls a 'turn about the town.' Frances, sup- 
pose you go on reading to Win while I sew a 
little." 

Frances took the book Win held out to her, 
and Mrs. Thayne 's fingers twitched the needle 
through her embroidery, both ears alert for 
sound of returning steps. The clock struck 
three and then four. Nothing happened. Roger 
did not come and Mr. Fisher did not reappear. 

Over on St. Aubin's tiny island, Roger 
watched the water creep steadily up the rocks, 
up and up until it broke almost at the founda- 
tions of the castle. Cruel, cold, and gray it 
looked and hungry and chilly was the boy who 
watched. Once a gull flew so close that he 



ROGER THE MAROONED 269 

could almost touch it as it vanished like a ghost 
into the fog. 

At intervals Roger inspected his watch, 
counting the moments till the tide should cease 
to make. At last the water stopped climbing 
the rocks, remained stationary, fell an inch. 
The next wave broke still farther below. 

But unless the fog should lift, ebb tide would 
only duplicate Roger's predicament of the 
morning. Toward four he saw that the mist 
was gradually growing lighter; saw water vis- 
ible fifty feet from the island. Presently a 
breeze sprang into being, the most welcome 
wind Roger had ever known. Before it the fog 
thinned, grew filmy, dispersed in shreds of trail- 
ing vapor. Noirmont Point and St. Aubin's 
village came gradually into distinct view, and 
with them a man walking along the sand. 

Water ten feet deep and many wide still 
barred Roger from the shore and he could not 
make himself heard above the slow heave of 
the rollers lazily breaking on the beach. Was 
there no way to attract the saunterer's atten- 
tion? 

Finding a long branch, relic of some storm- 
wrecked tree, Roger tied his handkerchief to 



270 THE SPANISH CHEST 

it and waved vigorously. After a time, the 
man on the beach noticed the flag and stood 
looking toward it. 

A bright idea struck Roger. At home he 
had belonged to a troop of boy scouts and knew 
the signals. He would experiment on this 
stranger. 

Just by chance, Mr. Fisher at one time had 
been a scout-master and instantly realized that 
Roger, marooned on St. Aubin's island, was 
trying to send a message. Hastily improvis- 
ing a flag, he responded. 

Twenty minutes later, Mrs. Thayne, still 
nervously sewing, heard Mr. Fisher run up the 
steps and Estelle hurry to the door. A few 
brief seconds sufficed to give the explanation 
Roger had so painstakingly signaled. 

"I didn't stop to rescue him, Mrs. Thayne,' ' 
explained Mr. Fisher, * ' because his one thought 
was for you and Win, not to let you worry a 
moment longer." 

" Can't you get a boat and row out for him?" 
asked Estelle, seeing that Mrs. Thayne was un- 
able to speak. "Poor dear boy, he must be 
cold and famished." 

"I'm off to Noirmont Point," replied Mr. 



ROGER THE MAROONED 271 

Fisher briefly. "It shouldn't take long to pull 
over and back, provided that I pick up a boat 
quickly. ' ' 

In spite of the tutor's best efforts, darkness 
had fallen before the marooned prisoner was 
returned to his anxious family, who sat around 
to see him eat everything pressed upon him. 
Eoger was pale and very subdued. Strangest 
of all, he had come up Noirmont Terrace pressed 
close to the side of the obnoxious Bill Fish and 
not in the least resenting the hand that rested 
on his shoulder. 

Having consumed all the food in sight, he 
yielded without protest to his mother's desire 
that he should go to bed in order to ward off 
possible chill. When Mr. Fisher, heartily 
thanked, had taken his departure, Mrs. Thayne 
started for Roger's room. On its threshold she 
stopped for the boys were talking. 

"I hated it like time out there," said Roger, 
now reposing luxuriously in bed. * ' But I hated 
worse to have you and Mother worried. I 
didn't purposely go over to the island, Win." 

"I know you didn't," said his brother. "I 
was sure that something you couldn't help had 
happened. ' ' 



272 THE SPANISH CHEST 

"It did," sighed Roger. "I guess I'll never 
again do anything that worries Mother, now I 
know how it feels to worry over somebody my- 
self. And I say, Win, Bill Fish is all right! 
To think of his knowing the scont signals ! And 
he pulled out for me himself in a heavy old 
dory that weighed a ton. Why, Bill Fish isn't 
so bad!" 

"And have you just found that out?" asked 
Win laughing. i i I 've known it all the time. ' ' 



CHAPTER XIX 

AT C0RBIERE 

Not until Friday did Win receive the longed- 
for letter from Paris. He tore it open eagerly. 

' ' Dear Win," it ran, "I've just arrived in 
town and am wishing I was back in Jersey. 
As the steamer sailed, I looked over at St Au- 
bin's and thought of you. You couldn't see 
me of course, both for fog and because I was 
in the wheel-house with the pilot, Jim Trott, 
a fellow from Gorey village. 

"Probably you thought that we didn't get 
into the cave on Monday on account of the 
weather. It was beastly, but I decided to try, 
and when Connie knew my plan, she insisted on 
going with me. Pierre came too, with a lantern 
and we went down without much trouble. 

"Pierre and I tackled your stone pile at once 
and we pitched quantities aside, but couldn't 
finish because Connie, who was watching the 
tide, called a halt too soon. But we cleared 
enough rocks away to feel rather sure there is 
an opening of some kind beyond; just possibly 
the passage you are so keen on, more probably 
connecting with another cave. The Jersey 

273 



274 THE SPANISH CHEST 

cliffs are honey-combed with them. How 's that 
for exciting news? 

' ' Connie haled us out before there was really 
any need and of course the tide did not serve 
for us to go again. When I come at Easter, 
I'll finish the job if necessary. After playing 
ball with several tons of stone, we then ex- 
plored the vaults, armed with a hammer and a 
long line. 

"Well, old fellow, I pounded that north wall 
inch by inch and I can't conscientiously say I 
struck anything that sounded at all hollow. 
But still, it's not like tapping on plaster or 
wood ; one couldn 't reasonably expect the same 
result for the stone is probably some feet thick. 
And if the whole wall is the side of the tun- 
nel, naturally it would all sound alike, so that 
test doesn't really prove or disprove anything. 

"The discovery Connie and I did make, and 
to my mind it is rather important, is that you 
are right in thinking that there is a discrep- 
ancy between the walls of the oldest vault and 
the adjacent cellar. Outside the house, the 
foundation wall runs flush the length of the 
library and the wing beyond; inside, that same 
foundation wall doesn't jibe. According to our 
measurements, there is a difference of over a 
metre, almost four feet, in the length of the 
partition at right angles to the north wall as 
reckoned on either side. This certainly bears 
out your theory of a passage running along 
that wall. 

"We looked very carefully but could not de- 
tect that there had ever been any opening, but 



AT CORBIERE 275 

all the masonry is so rough that perhaps we 
couldn't expect to find it. 

" Uncle Dick is interested but sceptical, says 
the difference in measurement may be ac- 
counted for by walls built at different times. 
When he thinks it over a little, he will see that 
no Lisle in his senses, — and the Lisles possess 
sense, — would have put four extra feet of 
solidity into a wall which had no earthly 
reason to need such treatment. But he 
said that when I came at Easter, we may have 
a mason and knock a hole wherever we choose. 
Messing about in the cellar is a harmless amuse- 
ment that may keep us out of mischief and pro- 
vide employment for some deserving workman. 
Before that date, I trust you will succeed in 
getting Uncle Dick into a less doubting frame 
of mind. Easter is but a month away and if 
all goes well, I'll surely be back and we will 
hunt that Spanish chest to its lair. 

"Had no adventures coming here. Jean 
seemed relieved when I told him to drive. 
When I reached my rooms, I found a note di- 
recting me to report for duty to-morrow pre- 
pared to show some important American from 
the western States the sights of Paris. That 
means a gay and giddy day. I only hope I 
sha'n't have to interpret while he buys hats for 
Madam and the young ladies at home. Once 
I was let in for that and it was pretty sicken- 
ing. I've often wondered what the ladies 
thought of those hats. I also hope he won 't be 
keen on climbing the Eiffel tower, for that 's one 
of the things that 's not done in Paris. 

"I must go to bed for it is after two and my 



276 THE SPANISH CHEST 

day to-morrow, or rather to-day, may include 
an evening as well. 

"Till Easter then adieu, and all best wishes, 
"M. R. Hamilton.' ' 

This letter naturally afforded Win a great 
deal of satisfaction and his interest and pleas- 
ure were shared by the others. To wait a 
whole month to solve the mystery of the Span- 
ish chest when so distinct a clue appeared al- 
ready in his hand, was a trial of patience. Natu- 
rally Colonel Lisle would not be likely to go 
ahead in the matter until Max returned to in- 
spire action by his youthful enthusiasm, and it 
was only fair that Max should be in at the 
finish. Win wondered whether Connie shared 
the Colonel's scepticism. This proved not the 
case, only that Connie and her father were go- 
ing to London for a week or two and the little 
lady of the Manor had other ideas to occupy 
her pretty head. 

"We may even run over to Paris,' ' she an- 
nounced during a farewell call at Rose Villa. 
"Max has been begging us ever since he was 
sent there, so it's possible we may cross for a 
few days and plan so that we come back to- 
gether at Easter." 

"Wouldn't it be jolly to go around Paris 



AT CORBIERE 277 

with Mr. Max," said Win almost enviously. "I 
haven't forgotten how dandy he was to me in 
Washington. Dad took me along when he was 
calling on some official and then found he was 
in for a morning's conference. The Secretary 
sent for a young man, who proved to be Mr. 
Max and told him to look after me. I was 
only fifteen, but Mr. Max took as much pains 
to give me a good time as though I'd been 
somebody really important." 

" That's like Max," said Connie briefly, her 
eyes showing pleasure at Win's tribute. "I 
think he's detailed for service such as that more 
often than the other young men of the Embassy 
because he gets on so well with all sorts of peo- 
ple. It's a real gift and a very valuable one for 
a prospective diplomat. But you are celebrat- 
ing one of your great national days this week, 
aren't you?" 

"Yes, Washington's birthday," said Fran- 
ces. "Luckily it comes on Wednesday, so we 
have a holiday. We were going to have a pic- 
nic at Corbiere and invite you, Miss Connie." 

"Indeed, I wish I could be there," said Con- 
stance with genuine regret in her voice, "but 
I'll be in London. We'll keep up our spirits 



278 THE SPANISH CHEST 

by remembering that it's only a brief time to 
Easter and then we are to start again on the 
trail of the Spanish chest." 

Estelle consented to join the holiday cele- 
bration, and when the twenty-second dawned 
bright and sunny, Eose Villa was the scene of 
an animated flurry. In the dining-room, Edith, 
Frances and Estelle were putting up the lunch, 
while Win collected painting traps for the pic- 
ture he hoped to sketch, and Roger departed to 
bring the pony and cart engaged for the day. 

Corbiere Point was distant about four miles 
and all except Win and his mother proposed to 
walk, since the little carriage could take lunch 
baskets and wraps. 

Roger appeared with a plump stubborn Welsh 
pony, attached to a funny little cart which he 
gayly informed them was a ' ' gingle. ' ' Neither 
Edith nor Estelle, who were familiar with the 
term as used in Cornwall, thought it odd but 
Roger considered it most absurd. 

Even the short legs of a tiny pony could 
cover the ground more rapidly than the walk- 
ing party, and when the pedestrians reached 
their destination, no sign of Win, his mother, 
pony or gingle was visible. 



AT CORBIERE 279 

"Oh, what a wonderful view!" exclaimed 
Estelle stopping short. 

Before them lay Corbiere lighthouse, built 
on a bold rock, at flood tide an island, but at 
this hour approachable from the mainland by 
a causeway. In the foreground stretched an 
expanse of jagged red reefs and shining pools 
with a single martello tower rising in dignified 
grandeur. At the right lay a hill, its summit 
crowned by one stone cottage with a thatched 
roof, and down the hill a narrow road wandered 
to disappear in a cleft between two gigantic red 
granite boulders sprinkled with glittering 
quartz and partly covered with gray and bright 
orange lichens. Green grass and turquoise 
blue sea with a single white sail dipping to the 
horizon completed the color scheme. Near at 
hand hovered several of the sea-crows, 
corbieres, which have given the point its name. 

Estelle 's soft eyes grew wide and a pretty 
pink flush came into her usually pale cheeks as 
she gazed into the distance. Roger and the 
girls were looking for the rest of the party. 

The thatched cottage seemed utterly without 
life, windows blank and no sign of any do- 
mestic proceedings. 



280 THE SPANISH CHEST 

"It must be deserted." said Edith as they 
strolled on. 

''Here's a shed with something black in it," 
said Roger. "I can just see its head. It's a 
goat." 

"It's a black stocking hung to dry," de- 
clared Edith. 

"Stocking, nothing," replied Roger. "I 
know it's a goat." 

The two hung over the gate and deliberately 
stared into the little shed. "No goat ever 
stopped still for so long," persisted Edith, when 
three full minutes had passed without motion 
in the shed. 

"I'll go in and see," began Roger, about to 
climb the gate. A sudden exclamation from 
Frances deterred him. 

"Goodness, here's a black cat! Where did 
it come from!" 

Upon the doorstep now sat a perfectly mo- 
tionless black cat. 

"Look at the black hens!" added Edith, 
bursting into laughter. 

At either corner of the stone cottage two coal 
black hens were visible, also like statues, and 
possessing bright yellow eyes. 



AT CORBIERE 281 

"And a black dog in a barrel !" Frances 
fairly shrieked. 

"Well, a dog has some sense !" said Roger, 
whistling and calling. Strange to say, the dog 
neither stirred nor lifted its head. Nose on 
its paws it remained absolutely still. 

1 ' This is a bum lot of animals," observed 
Roger. "I never saw a dog before that 
wouldn't at least bark at strangers." 

' 'It's probably dumb as well as deaf," com- 
mented Frances. 

"But it might at least move, 19 expostulated 
Roger. "Perhaps it's paralyzed." 

"Perhaps this cottage and everything about 
it is enchanted," suggested Edith. "Miss 
Connie said something, don't you remember, 
about a place where the Jersey witches hold 
their meetings?" 

"That is 'way the other end of the island," 
retorted Roger, ' ' down at St. Clement's. ' ' 

There was something uncanny about that 
collection of dusky, motionless animals and the 
three were conscious of real relief when the 
two hens at last walked off in quite a hen-like, 
not to say human manner. But cat, dog and 
goat remained as though petrified. 



282 THE SPANISH CHEST 

"Mother's calling," said Frances. "Come 
along, Roger. Lunch !" 

Roger postponed his intention of stirring up 
the dog to see whether it was stuffed or para- 
lyzed, and they turned in the direction of the 
call. 

Luncheon was already spread on the grass 
in shelter of a big rock, the Stars and Stripes 
forming the table decoration. At sight of the 
flag, Roger and Fran stopped and saluted 
gravely as their father had taught them. 

"Mother!" exclaimed Roger, his eyes widen- 
ing. "Is that a chocolate layer-cake? Where 
did it come from 1 ' ' 

"I made it," said Mrs. Thayne. "Miss Es- 
telle said I might and Annette was quite pleased 
to watch me, and see how an American cake was 
constructed." 

No doubt that the young people were frankly 
happy, though spending this holiday in so un- 
usual a fashion. After luncheon, Win prepared 
to sketch the lighthouse and the other three 
proposed to visit it. 

As they ran down the hill toward the cause- 
way and the heap of picturesque red rocks bared 
by the water, Mrs. Thayne settled herself with 



AT CORBIERE 283 

her embroidery and Estelle produced her net- 
ting. 

After a few moments spent consulting with 
Win as to the exact angle desirable for his 
sketch, Mrs. Thayne felt for her watch, remem- 
bered that she did not bring it and looked at 
Estelle. 

"Will you tell me the time?" she asked. 
"Win's hands are full with his palette and 
block." 

"Certainly," said Estelle. "It's just two." 

As she replaced her watch, a sudden look of 
interest crossed Mrs. Thayne 's face. 

"What a curious chain you have, Estelle," 
she remarked. "Is it an old one? May I take 
it a moment?" 

"It belonged to my grandmother, my 
mother's mother," replied Estelle, unfastening 
the chain and holding it out to Mrs. Thayne. 
' i I think it is very old for I never saw another 
like it." 

Mrs. Thayne examined the trinket carefully. 
It was hand-made, of pale yellow gold, and the 
links, instead of being round, were rectangular, 
yet so fastened in a series of three as to produce 
the effect of a round cable. 



284 THE SPANISH CHEST 

1 'It is an awkward thing to use," said Es- 
telle, "because sometimes those links get 
turned and it is very difficult to work them into 
place.' ' 

Mrs. Thayne looked up, a curiously intent ex- 
pression on her face. "Estelle," she said ab- 
ruptly, "have you any relatives in America ?" 

"Not that I know of," Estelle replied, sur- 
prised by the sudden question, "though I sup- 
pose it is quite possible. Grandmother's sister 
married a young man who went out to the colo- 
nies, somewhere near Toronto, I think. We 
have known nothing of them since Grandmother 
died and that was before I was born. I think 
Mother completely lost touch with Great-aunt 
Emma. It is easy, you know, when one be- 
longs to a different generation and has never 
seen one's aunt." 

"Then you don't know whether your Great- 
aunt Emma had children ? ' ' asked Mrs. Thayne, 
twisting the odd chain reflectively between her 
fingers. 

"Oh, yes," said Estelle. "I do happen to 
know that. There were two, a girl and a boy. 
Now I think of it, I recall that the girl married 
and went to the States. I do not know how one 



AT CORBIERE 285 

speaks of your counties, but it was not the city 
of New York,; — perhaps New Yorkshire V s 

"New York State, " put in Win so abruptly 
that his mother jumped. To all appearances 
he had been completely absorbed in his paint- 
ing. 

"But ycu don't know the name of the man 
she married!" Mrs. Thayne asked. 

"I do not," replied Estelle. "But I could 
find out, for it will be among Father's papers. 
I think he had a hazy idea of writing some time 
to Canada to get in touch if possible with 
Mother 's relatives. But it was never done, and 
I should hesitate to do it, — especially now." 

"Lest they might think you were seeking 
aid/' Mrs. Thayne thought, with a tender ap- 
preciation of Estelle 's proud independence, but 
she kept her inference to herself. 

"Do you know whether your grandmother's 
sister who went to Canada also possessed a 
chain like this 1 ' ' she asked. 

"Why, yes," said Estelle, laying down her 
work and looking out to sea. * ' I know she did. 
Great-grandfather Avery once bought two just 
alike in Paris and gave one to each of his daugh- 
ters, This came to me through Mother." 



286 THE SPANISH CHEST 

Mrs. Thayne started to speak but caught 
Win's eyes fixed upon her inquiringly. Some- 
thing in their expression checked the words she 
was about to utter. 

i l After all, better be sure, ' ' she thought. ' ' It 
is a very curious old trinket, Estelle, ' ' she said, 
returning the chain. "Some time when you 
think of it, I wish you would look in your 
father's papers and find the married name of 
that cousin who went to New York State. ' ' 



CHAPTER XX 

WIN WONDERS 

"Mother," said Win solemnly, "I shook in 
my shoes this afternoon. Didn't you notice the 
lurid mixture of colors I was daubing on my 
block? And all because I knew you were hav- 
ing psychic thoughts and I was so afraid you 
would say what I thought you were thinking 
and startle Estelle. I wanted so much to know 
myself just what you were driving at with your 
watch-chains that I almost chewed my tongue 
off trying not to speak." 

"I know it," said Mrs. Thayne. "I felt you 
quaking, Win, and decided to keep still. After 
all, the only sensible way was to find out defi- 
nitely that name. Estelle is so proud and so 
reluctant to accept help that one must move 
carefully in trying to smooth her pathway. ' ' 

The two were alone in Mrs. Thayne's room 
after the happy picnic at Corbiere. Through 

287 



288 THE SPANISH CHEST 

the open window floated the occasional sound 
of voices from the end of the terrace where 
Roger, Edith, and Frances stood watching the 
steamer for Southampton round Noirmont 
Point. 

1 ' And now that I do know the name, I am still 
uncertain what is best to do,'' reflected Mrs. 
Thayne. ' ' But you asked about the chain, Win. 
The moment I saw that one of Estelle's I knew 
that I had seen a similar one in the United 
States. For a time I could not place it, and 
really it is a thing of unusual workmanship 
and not likely to be largely duplicated. Then it 
came to me in a flash that Carrie Aldrich often 
wears a chain like that and once told me that 
it had belonged to her mother." 

"But I never knew that Mrs. Aldrich was 
English,' ' said Win wonderingly. "I thought 
she'd always lived in Boston.' ' 

"I knew that she was a Canadian, " replied 
his mother, "but she was educated in the United 
States and married an American. To trace 
her ancestry never occurred to me. She is so 
thoroughly and completely American that one 
would never think of her forefathers as being 
anything else. 



WIN WONDERS 289 

"I can hardly keep silent/ ' she went on. 
' ' When I think of Carrie alone in that huge 
house in Boston, with her big income and her 
still bigger heart and only her charities to fill 
it and to occupy her time, and then think of 
Estelle, so proudly trying to support herself 
and Edith in a land where self-support for 
women is not easy, — why, Win, it seems as 
though I must tell her on the spot. And yet, 
if I do, I am quite sure Estelle will just shut 
herself up in the armor of her pride and refuse 
to make herself known. Taking both the testi- 
mony of the chains and the very pronounced 
family resemblance, there can be no reasonable 
doubt of the identity.' ' 

"I think Estelle would refuse," said Win 
slowly. " She's foolishly proud. She thinks, 
Mother, that you pay more than the house is 
worth and so she does her level best to make it 
up to us in other ways." 

"I believe I will write to Carrie," mused Mrs. 
Thayne. " She'd be interested and anxious to 
see the girls. I'm sure she doesn't realize that 
she has any cousins in England." 

' ' Mother, ' ' said Win with deliberation, ' ' why 
don't you ask Mrs. Aldrich to come over and 



290 THE SPANISH CHEST 

visit us for a little? You'd like to have her and 
so would we. Probably she has nothing espe- 
cial to keep her at home and might be glad 
to be let out of a month or two of winter." 

"That's a bright idea, Win!" exclaimed his 
mother. "Only I suppose she has several pet 
charities that she will feel she can't leave at 
short notice." 

"In that case," replied Win, "probably you'd 
better write her about the girls, only do tell 
her to come and see for herself. It strikes me 
that nothing but knowing each other would 
ever really bring them together." 

"Win, you are so like your father," said Mrs. 
Thayne affectionately. "Your minds work 
alike. I find I'm growing to depend more and 
more upon your judgment. ' ' 

In the dusk Mrs. Thayne could not see the 
flush that spread over her son's thin face. To 
be likened in any way to Captain Thayne was 
praise indeed for Win. 

"I only wish I could take more off your 
shoulders, Mother," he said briefly, "instead of 
being a great lazy lump that the whole family 
has to take thought for." 

"Here's Annette with letters," said Mrs. 



WIN WONDERS 291 

Thayne. ' ' Why, I did not expect mail until to- 
morrow." 

Some moments passed until Win was aroused 
from his own correspondence by a sudden sur- 
prised exclamation from his mother. 

" Never say you don't believe in special provi- 
dences. This seems almost incredible, but here 
is a note from Mrs. Aldrich, written from Lon- 
don! She's come over to attend some charity 
congress and wants me to run up for a few 
days. ' ' 

"Then it is meant that you should, Mother," 
said Win, smiling. "That coincidence hasn't 
happened for nothing. You can tell her about 
the girls much more convincingly than it could 
be written, and bring her back with you to see 
them. It will all be natural and Estelle will 
never suspect." 

"I'll do it," said Mrs. Thayne, but the next 
second a shadow crossed her face. Her sharp- 
eyed son instantly saw and interpreted. 

"I'll not overdo, Mother," he said immedi- 
ately. "Trust me to rival the sloth in idle- 
ness. I promise you that I won't stir one step 
out of my usual routine." 

"But there's Roger," mused his mother. 



292 THE SPANISH CHEST 

"Oh, Roger is walking the straight and nar- 
row path of virtue. Ever since ex-scoutmaster 
Bill Fish rescued him from a desert island, he 's 
been meekness itself. Makes me smile to see 
his star-eyed devotion. This plan is too evi- 
dently designed, for you to give it the cold 
shoulder. ' ' 

"It does seem so," agreed his mother. "Well, 
I'll go by Saturday's boat. Win, don't you 
think it would be best not to say anything to 
Fran and Roger? We will tell them after I 
have seen Carrie." 

"I certainly do," Win declared. "Fran 
couldn't keep that secret one half day. It 
wouldn't interest the kid." 

The absence of the family did not prevent 
Win's enjoyment of the Manor library and 
during his mother's stay in London, he paid it 
several visits. Evidently the servants had 
been instructed to expect and make him wel- 
come, should he appear, for a smiling face an- 
swered his ring and the fire in the library was 
invariably lighted on his arrival. But Win's 
conscience would not allow him to neglect Roger 
even for these delightful hours of solitude, so 
this pleasure was only occasional. 



WIN WONDERS 293 

With the pony and gingle they explored many 
of the lovely Jersey lanes and headlands, for 
driving seldom tired Win. Half a morning 
passed in this fascinating occupation left Roger 
ready to spend the time before luncheon in pre- 
paring his lessons. When they were over in 
the afternoon, Mr. Fisher usually suggested 
kicking football on the beach or led Roger a 
walk sufficiently strenuous to leave him dis- 
posed for a quiet evening, Estelle and Nurse 
both thought Roger "good as gold," and did 
not realize how much of his virtue was due to 
the forethought of brother and tutor. 

One morning Estelle had errands in town and 
invited Roger to go with her. Hearing his joy- 
ful acceptance, Win as gladly betook himself to 
the Manor. 

Spring was far advanced now, potatoes were 
being planted and other early vegetables al- 
ready showing in green rows. Under the trees 
on the Manor grounds wild snow-drops starred 
the grass. Win wandered into the formal gar- 
den enclosed by a hedge of box so clipped as 
to form a solid wall with square pillars topped 
by round balls of living green. In the back- 
ground posed two peacocks, also clipped from 



294 THE SPANISH CHEST 

box. What patience, time and care had been 
required to bring that hedge to such perfection ! 
Early roses were now plentiful and as Win 
sauntered through their fragrant mazes, he 
realized how much loving thought had been ex- 
pended through the centuries on this old gar- 
den. Sad indeed that the present owner of 
Laurel Manor was the last Richard Lisle. 

Win's reverie was broken by the passing of 
Pierre, with a pleasant "Bon jour, M'sieur," 
and a touch of his cap. Pierre carried a rope 
and crowbar, unusual implements for a gar- 
dener's assistant. 

Win watched him idly down the laurel-bor- 
dered drive and then went into the library, fol- 
lowed by Tylo, who seemed depressed in the 
absence of his mistress. 

About eleven, Win was visited by Yvonne, 
bringing a glass of milk and a plate of biscuit, 
which she placed beside him with a politely 
murmured "M'sieur labors so diligently!" 

" Thank you, Yvonne," said Win. "It's 
good of you to bring that. Do you know when 
the Colonel and Miss Connie are expected?" 

"No word since they arrived at Paris," re- 
plied Yvonne in her daintily accented English. 



WIN WONDERS 295 

"It is Pierre who hears from M'sieur Max, a 
letter, brief indeed, but explicit, that certain 
matters may arrange themselves in readiness 
for the coming of M'sieur Max." 

Win looked puzzled. For a second Yvonne 
stood regarding him, her head slightly on one 
side. 

"Word will perhaps arrive on the morrow,' ' 
she volunteered. "Is the milk to M'sieur 's 
liking?'? 

"Very much. Thank you, Yvonne." 

The trim little maid replenished the fire, re- 
placed a daffodil fallen from a vase, patted 
Tylo, gave him a biscuit and vanished as noise- 
lessly as she came. 

Left alone, Win began to walk slowly up and 
down the library, wondering about the matters 
which were "to arrange themselves." The 
tools Pierre carried, the direction in which he 
was walking, to Win's alert mind suggested the 
Manor cave. Had Max told Pierre to complete 
clearing away that heap of stones and if so, 
why? 

Never in his life had Win been so tempted 
to break his word. In spite of the voluntary 
promise to his mother to do nothing in the least 



296 THE SPANISH CHEST 

unusual, it seemed as though he must go and see 
what was taking place in the cave. 

"Pierre would help me up," he told himself. 

"Yes," came the instant answer, "but Roger 
gave you all the help he could and yet you were 
in bed two days and felt ill for a week. ' ' 

Win thought of questioning Pierre, but aban- 
doned the idea as not quite on the level. A 
note from Max had come on yesterday's steamer 
presumably in company with the directions to 
Pierre. There was not a word in it about the 
cave and if the writer had wanted Win to 
know what was going on, he would have told 
him. No, Win's code of honor would not per- 
mit him to find out by asking Pierre. And yet 
two weeks until Easter! 

Win gave a long whistle, looked wistfully 
down to the sea and again took up his book. 

When he returned for luncheon at Rose Villa, 
he found Roger convulsing Frances by his ac- 
count of the morning spent in town with Estelle. 

"It's lucky I don't have to do the marketing 
for this family," he announced. "If you 
wanted cream now, where would you get it?" 

"A dairy, of course, or a market," replied 
Frances. 



WIN WONDERS 297 

" Wrong. Much cream you'd get! Try a 
fish-monger 's." 

At Roger's disgusted tone, Fran giggled. 
"Oh, I've learned a lot," he went on. "Where 
would you ask for one of those paper patterns 
to cut out a dress f" 

"A dry-goods store,' ' answered his sister. 

"Do say a draper's if that is what you 
mean," continued Roger. "You would only 
waste time. Go to a book-shop." 

"I will," said Fran. "Thanks for the tip." 

"I wanted to get weighed," said Roger, "be- 
cause I know I am becoming a shadow studying 
so hard. I asked Miss Estelle where to go and 
told her I didn't think the nickel-in-the-slot 
machines were very accurate — Well, what's 
wrong with that?" 

Roger stopped for both Win and Frances 
were laughing at him. 

"Here you are knocking English customs," 
said Win at last. "As though Miss Estelle 
knew what a nickel was, let alone a slot ma- 
chine, although I have seen some of them." 

"I don't see anything so funny," said Roger 
huffily. "Perhaps she didn't know, but she 
was polite enough not to laugh and said the 



298 THE SPANISH CHEST 

place to get weighed was the hair-dresser's, — " 

' l Oh, come off, ' ' said Win. ' ' That 's too much, 
even for us." 

"Well, it is where we went and where the 
scales were," retorted Eoger, "but there 
weren't any pounds to it, only what they call 
stones. I weigh exactly seven stone and I 
won't tell you how many pounds that is." 

"Ninety-eight," said Win so promptly that 
Roger looked disconcerted. 

"How did you know?" he demanded. 

"From a book," replied his brother. "A 
little article that you don't yet value as highly 
as you might. What next?" 

"Oh, that was about all" said Roger, "ex- 
cept that Miss Estelle told me I might choose 
some crackers, I mean biscuit, and to buy half 
a kilo. I forgot and asked for half a litre and 
the clerk grinned very disagreeably." 

' Liquid measure instead of dry," com- 
mented Win in amusement. "After luncheon, 
Roger, permit me to introduce you to some 
parts of your arithmetic that you have evi- 
dently never examined. But go on." 

' ' Then I stopped to look in a window and hur- 
ried to catch Miss Estelle and ran into a big 



WIN WONDERS 299 

fat man who was wearing stiff leather gaiters 
and a tarn o' shanter. We came together rather 
hard/' admitted Roger. "I didn't hurt myself 
much because he was quite soft, but his tarn fell 
off and he said, ' Bless my soul, by George' !" 

" Roger, I can't stand any more," implored 
Frances. 

"I don't follow the logic of that hair-dresser 
and the scales," mused Win, when he had 
stopped laughing. "Is it before and after a 
hair-cut or to see how much flesh the barber 
gouges out in a shave ? ' ' 

4 'Give it up," said Fran. " There's the gong 
for luncheon and Edith bringing the mail. I 
hope there's a letter from mother." 

' ' There is," said Edith. 

"Please excuse me, Miss Estelle, if I read it 
now," begged Frances, settling into her seat 
at the table. 

"Of course, dear," was the reply as Estelle 
took Mrs. Thayne's usual place, for she and 
Edith were having their meals with the young 
people. 

"Now, Roger, pause," exclaimed Win, sud- 
denly. "What are you going to do with that?" 
he added, as the attention of all was concen- 



3 oo THE SPANISH CHEST 

trated on the surprised Roger who sat with ar- 
rested hand suspending above his plate a spoon 
heaped with sugar. 

"Whatever is he doing V protested Estelle 
gently. "Such a mixture! How can he eat 
sugar on his eggs 1 ' ' 

"Thought it was pancakes/ ' explained 
Roger, indicating the omelet before him, but 
relinquishing the sugar. 

"Mother's coming on Wednesday,' ' Frances 
announced happily. ' * And she 's met a friend in 
London, Mrs. Aldrich, who's coming with her 
for a few days. Isn't that splendid, boys? 
You'll like her, Miss Estelle. She's sweet." 

"I shall be glad to see any friend of your 
mother's," said Estelle cordially. Looking to 
see whether Roger was sufficiently supplied 
with butter, she did not notice the smile with 
which Win glanced at her. 



CHAPTER XXI 

THE TWO CHAINS 

"Estelle, will you do me a favor ?" asked 
Mrs. Thayne, following her young landlady into 
the hall. The travelers from London had just 
arrived and in the drawing-room, Mrs. Aldrich 
was expatiating to the boys upon the roughness 
of the trip. 

"Why, of course I will! You don't need to 
ask," replied Estelle affectionately. 

"You and Edith have been taking your meals 
with the children during my absence. Please 
keep on doing it. Let us all be one family for 
the rest of our stay. ' ' 

" It is lovely of you to want us, Mrs. Thayne, ' ' 
said Estelle, her face flushing. "We stopped 
with the children because I thought it would 
be better and then I could personally see that 
they had all they wanted. But now that you 
have a guest — " 

301 



3 02 THE SPANISH CHEST 

"I want you and Mrs. Aldrich to know each 
other," said Mrs. Thayne quickly. "And this 
will be one of the easiest ways to get 
acquainted. ' ' 

"I think Mrs. Aldrich is charming," 
remarked Estelle. "Isn't it odd, how some- 
times a likeness in a total stranger strikes one ? 
For a second, just as you introduced us, she re- 
minded me so much of my dear mother that I 
could hardly pull myself together to speak. She 
must have thought me quite awkward." 

"I know she didn't," said Mrs. Thayne, with 
difficulty keeping her face under control. She 
had seen Estelle start and noticed her amazed 
expression when Mrs. Aldrich greeted her. So 
Estelle had not been conscious of Mrs. Aldrich 's 
constrained manner! "Then you will have 
luncheon with us?" she added. 

"I will since you wish it," replied Estelle, 
vanishing to give directions to Nurse. 

"Now, what is there to do this morning?" 
Mrs. Aldrich was asking the boys. "I propose 
to stay in this island exactly one week. Your 
mother was seasick so she ought to lie down and 
rest but I feel as fit as a fiddle. Frances is at 
school, you tell me. No, I don't want to drive 



THE TWO CHAINS 303 

this morning. Suppose you take me for a short 
walk, Roger and Win, and show me what is to 
be seen on the beach." 

"We might take you to Noirmont Point,' ' 
suggested Eoger as they stopped at the end of 
the terrace to look at the view which was never 
twice the same. "What are those big vessels 
over beyond Castle Elizabeth ? ' ' 

"They are English warships/ ' replied Mrs. 
Aldrich. "Coming into the harbor we passed 
close to them. The captain said it was a part 
of the Channel squadron, whatever that is." 

"Oh, did you see their names?" demanded 
Roger eagerly, as he counted the great gray 
ships in the offing. "Fourteen, no, fifteen." 

"Only a few. One was the Princess Royal 
and I saw the Thunderer, the Revenge, the 
Black Prince and the Camper down." 

Roger 's eyes opened at this list of awe-inspir- 
ing names. "I wish we could get over to Eliz- 
abeth, ' ' he remarked. ' ' We could see them bet- 
ter then." 

"Tide's not right," said Win, casting a 
critical glance at the sea. 

"What, to walk over to that island?" asked 
Mrs. Aldrich. "Is it ever possible?" 



3 o 4 THE SPANISH CHEST 

< < We > ve Deen over, ' ' said Roger. ' ' When the 
tide is 'way out, there is a raised causeway, 
quite smooth and easy." 

"What is the place anyway? " asked Mrs. 
Aldrich, looking curiously across to the castle. 

"Once it was an old abbey,' ' Win explained, 
"dedicated to St. Elericus, the patron saint of 
Jersey. I suppose the town was named for 
him. ,, 

i i How did the island itself get its name V in- 
quired Mrs. Aldrich. ' ' The derivation of these 
charming old English names is a fascinating 
study. ' ' 

' ' It was the old Roman Caesarea, ' ' said Win. 
"Jersey is a corruption of that. The ruined 
hermitage of St. Elericus is still over near Eliz- 
abeth, at least they call it that, though it's a 
kind of combination of a watch-tower and a 
cave. But the castle, as it stands, was built 
when Edward VI was king of England. There 's 
a story to the effect that all the bells in the 
island except one for each of the twelve churches 
were seized by royal authority and ordered sold 
to help pay for building the castle. They were 
shipped to St. Malo and expected to bring a high 
price, but the vessel went down on the way and 



THE TWO CHAINS 305 

all the good church people thought it was be- 
cause of sacrilege in taking those bells.' ' 

"What is the castle used for now?" inquired 
Mrs. Aldrich. 

" Barracks/ ' replied Roger. "The place is 
full of soldiers. It's no good now as a fortifica- 
tion, because Fort Eegent up above St. Helier's 
— over there on the cliffs — could knock Castle 
Elizabeth and all those warships into fits in no 
time. Nothing can enter the bay if the Fort 
Regent guns don't approve. And that heap 
of rocks where Elizabeth stands is 'most a mile 
around, — it is, honest. Fran and Edith and I 
walked it." 

"They say," said Win, "that the space be- 
tween the castle and the town was once a 
meadow. For that matter, they also say that 
the whole channel between here and France 
was once so narrow that the Bishop of Cout- 
ances used to cross to Jersey on a plank." 

"Tell that to the marines," protested Roger. 
"You do find the weirdest yarns in those books 
you're always grubbing in." 

"Oh, I can tell a bigger one than that," said 
Win laughing, "but perhaps you'll swallow it 
because your friend Bill told it to me. He said 



3 o6 THE SPANISH CHEST 

that some time in the sixteenth century there 
was an abnormally low tide, lower than any one 
had ever known. Some fishermen who hap- 
pened to be out between Orgueil and the coast 
of France came in and reported that they had 
distinctly seen down in the channel the towers 
and streets and houses of an old town, forty 
feet or more under water." 

" There are stories like that in Brittany, ,, 
said Mrs. Aldrich. "The fishermen declare 
that they can hear the tolling of the submerged 
church bells. Now, when legends like that 
exist on both sides of a channel, it stands to 
reason that there is likely some foundation in 
truth." 

"Then why don't they send divers down to 
find out!" demanded Roger bluntly. "Any 
enterprising country would. ' ' 

"We'll import a few Americans to do the 
investigating, ' ' laughed Mrs. Aldrich. ' ' Is this 
Frances coming! Who is with her?" 

"Edith," replied Win. "Miss Estelle's sis- 
ter." 

"Bless me!" murmured Mrs. Aldrich. "The 
other was startling enough but this resemblance 
is even stronger." 



THE TWO CHAINS 307 

Win smiled. It was great fun to look on, 
knowing what he did of his mother's innocent 
little conspiracy, all the more fun because the 
other young people were unsuspecting. 

At luncheon, where Estelle appeared with a 
pretty dignity, Win was supplied with still more 
secret amusement. Mrs. Ardrich talked a good 
deal, rather inconsequently at times, but con- 
tinually looked from one sister to the other in 
a way that would have aroused suspicion had 
either the slightest idea that any plot was on 
foot. As it was, Win saw Estelle occasionally 
glancing at their guest in a puzzled manner as 
though trying to account for something she 
found unexpected. After the meal he waylaid 
his mother. 

"What is Mrs. Aldrich going to do?" he 
asked laughingly. "I had hard work not to 
give myself away during luncheon. You looked 
so unnatural, Mother, that if you hadn't been 
seasick, Fran and Roger would have caught on. 
As it was, they thought you weren't quite 
rested." 

"I don't know what she is going to do," 
replied his mother, "but it is working as we 
hoped. She is strongly attracted to the girls, 



3 o8 THE SPANISH CHEST 

and Estelle confided to me that our guest in 
some unaccountable way, reminded her of her 
mother. We have done our part in bringing 
Carrie here; it is for her to take the next step. 
I rather imagine that she won't be able to hold 
in very much longer, though I think she is 
enjoying the situation." 

It was not until dinner of her third day in 
St. Aubin's, that Mrs. Aldrich made herself 
known. To please Win, who had ascertained 
that she chanced to have the old chain with her, 
she wore it when she entered the dining-room. 

Win watched Estelle intently, disappointed 
that she did not immediately notice the orna- 
ment. Indeed, they were finishing dessert be- 
fore anything happened. Perhaps purposely, 
Mrs. Aldrich looked at her watch and Fran in 
all innocence touched the match that fired the 
explosion. 

"Why, how odd!" she exclaimed. "Miss 
Estelle has a chain just like that one, Mrs. 
Aldrich." 

Win and his mother exchanged a glance; the 
others naturally looked at the chain. 

"It's precisely like it, Sister," said Edith, 
who sat near Mrs. Aldrich. ' ' Isn 't that queer ? ' ' 



THE TWO CHAINS 309 

"It's an old keepsake," said Mrs. Aldrich 
with deliberation. "It belonged to my mother. 
See, here are her initials on the slide, E. A. for 
Emma Avery." 

Edith looked with interest but Estelle turned 
pale. Thoughtful Win pushed a glass of water 
within reach. 

"Star's has initials too," Edith remarked 
innocently. "A. A., I think they are. Anyway, 
it was Grandmother's chain." 

Mrs. Aldrich turned to Estelle, who perfectly 
colorless, was staring at her. ' ' Child, ' ' she said 
rather peremptorily, "come up to my room and 
let us compare these old trinkets. ' ' 

Still speechless, Estelle mechanically arose. 
Amid dead silence the two left the dining-room. 
Fran turned to her mother, amazed at the look 
of excited pleasure on her face. "What does 
it all mean?" she demanded. "Is it a secret?" 

"Just a mild little conspiracy," replied Mrs. 
Thayne. "What it means, is that Mrs. Aldrich 
was your mother's first cousin, Edith, so she is 
your and Estelle 's second cousin. Just by 
chance I guessed from Estelle's unusual chain 
that the one Carrie Aldrich wears came from 
the same source. When Estelle told me that her 



310 THE SPANISH CHEST 

great-grandfather gave one to each of his two 
daughters, the whole thing flashed? on me. ' ' 

"But that," said Edith, with her sweet child- 
ish faith, "is a miracle." 

"Perhaps," smiled Mrs. Thayne. "I only 
know that we shall leave St. Aubin's happier 
because you and Mrs. Aldrich have found each 
other out." 

A shower of eager questions fell from Frances 
and Eoger but a long time passed before any- 
thing was seen of Estelle and Mrs. Aldrich. 
When they reappeared to the group awaiting 
them in the drawing-room, Estelle had plainly 
been crying and Mrs. Aldrich 's eyes looked sus- 
piciously red. 

"Come and kiss me, Edith," she said. "I 
want to be Cousin Carrie from now on. Yes, 
Estelle, she does look more like the Averys than 
you, though I saw the resemblance in your face 
also." 

"Isn't the whole thing just like a story?" 
Frances confided to her mother at bed-time. 
' ' What do you think will happen now f ' ' 

"I don't know," admitted Mrs. Thayne. 
"Estelle is so very proud that it will be hard 
for her to accept help from any one, but Carrie 



THE TWO CHAINS 311 

will arrange things if it can be done. I know 
that Estelle has been dreadfully worried because 
some of the little money her father left her has 
been lost through an imprudent investment and 
that she has not felt sure she could manage to 
keep the house through another season. And 
yet she must find some way of supporting her- 
self and Edith. Things will work themselves 
out, for Carrie is perfectly capable of inventing 
some very necessary work for Estelle to do, 
which will preserve her self-respect and let Car- 
rie have her way. I think Carrie usually has 
some young person acting as secretary and 
Estelle could do that easily. I am not at all 
worried about the future since Estelle fortu- 
nately saw the resemblance to her own mother in 
Mrs. Aldrich. I imagine that will make it 
easier for her to consider whatever plan is pro- 
posed.' ' 

"Wasn't it lucky that we came here!" sighed 
Frances. "And doesn't it seem odd that we did 
come, just because Roger and I wanted to take 
that little train the first day and chanced to find 
Eose Villa ? If it hadn 't been for that, we might 
not have looked for lodgings in St. Aubin's at 
all, nor known Miss Estelle and Edith. Why, 



3 i2 THE SPANISH CHEST 

Mother ! ' ' she went on, with intenser surprise in 
her voice. "It's just like the House that Jack 
built. If we hadn't come here, we wouldn't 
have met the beach dog, nor known Miss Con- 
nie, nor visited the Manor, nor be hunting for 
the Spanish chest!" 

Fran stopped, looking so comically aghast 
that Mrs. Thayne laughed as she kissed her. 

"So much depended upon a passing wish to 
take that little train! It is remarkable on look- 
ing back, to realize how often life turns upon 
some apparently trivial incident, some insignifi- 
cant choice." 

"It's time though, that we went home, 
Mother," said Frances merrily. "While you 
were in London, Miss Estelle wanted change for 
half a crown, so I tipped the money out of my 
purse. One piece rolled on the floor and Eoger 
picked it up, and said: 'Why, this isn't a shil- 
ling! What is it? ' So I took it, and, Mother, 
both of us looked at it hard for several seconds 
before we realized that it was a United States 
quarter-dollar! Don't you think it is time that 
we went home ? ' ' 



CHAPTER XXH 



THE CHEST ITSELF 



Mrs. Aldrich's stay did not exceed her limit 
of a week, but she left for London with Estelle 's 
willing promise to come to her when the 
Thaynes returned to Boston and leaving behind 
her two girls with gladdened hearts. After her 
departure Win's interest was again concentrat- 
ed on the coming of the Manor family and the 
search for the Spanish chest. 

Twice as he came or went from his visits to 
the library, he saw Pierre in the distance, once 
actually disappearing over the cliff edge, but 
Easter was close at hand when Yvonne, bring- 
ing the usual lunch, volunteered the information 
that the Colonel, Miss Connie and Mr. Max were 
expected on Saturday's steamer. 

Win reported this news with joy and when 
the day arrived the young people began to 

313 



3H THE SPANISH CHEST 

watch for the Granville boat hours before she 
could possibly arrive, hoping to distinguish 
familiar figures on the deck. To their disap- 
pointment, when the steamer was finally 
detected in the distance, dusk was at hand. 

"I shall do it!" said Roger firmly. "There 
are three packages and we may not be in Eng- 
land on the Fourth of July. Besides I forgot 
it on Washington's birthday." 

Fran and Win looked after him in amazement 
as he suddenly tore back to the house and 
rushed upstairs, spreading noise on his way and 
devastation in his room, where he jerked the 
very vitals out of his steamer trunk, scattering 
its contents to the four corners. 

Nor was Edith enlightened when Roger reap- 
peared with a pasteboard tube in one hand, and 
a box of matches in the other, but Win laughed 
and Frances gave a shriek of delight. 

"Red fire!" she exclaimed. "Oh, Roger, I 
never knew you had it. Do wait until the boat 
is a little nearer." 

"It will be darker, too," Win advised. 
1 ' Make more of a show if you wait. ' ' 

"I only hope they will know it is for them," 
said Roger anxiously. 



THE CHEST ITSELF 315 

"They'll see where it comes from and per- 
haps they'll -understand," said Win. "But 
don't expect the steamer to salute as one at 
home would. ' ' 

At the proper second, a flare of red illumin- 
ated the end of Xoirmont Terrace, greatly amaz- 
ing not only St. Aubin's staid population but 
such inhabitants of St. Helier's as chanced to 
be on the water front, and affording Roger two 
full moments of complete and exquisite satis- 
faction. 

"Real United States!" he said. "I suppose 
an English boat doesn't know enough to 
whistle—" 

Roger stopped with his mouth open. From 
the Alouette came two distinct blasts of the 
steam siren. 

"Oh, that's Mr. Max," burst out Win in 
delight. "He's been in America and under- 
stands the etiquette of red fire. And you 
remember he said he knew personally all the 
captains on the Channel boats. Probably he 
went up to the bridge and got somebody to 
acknowledge our salute! Isn't that simply 
corking of him?" 

"That was surely meant for us," agreed the 



3 i6 THE SPANISH CHEST 

pleased Frances. "Oh, how long shall we have 
to wait before we see them?" 

That very evening Pierre brought a note from 
Constance, expressing appreciative thanks for 
their fiery welcome, the source of which Max had 
guessed and which he had easily induced Cap- 
tain Lefevre to acknowledge. The note ended 
with an invitation to tea on Monday and prom- 
ised a solution of some kind to "Win's theories 
concerning the Spanish chest. 

1 1 How nice of Miss Connie to set the very first 
possible day," said Frances. "I suppose we 
shall not see them before then." 

1 ' Not unless we go to the little old church to- 
morrow," replied her brother. "If you want 
to, and it 's a still day, we might get up there. ' ' 

But the travelers had returned on an evening 
of clouds and threatening winds. Easter Sun- 
day dawned with Jersey in the grip of a terrific 
southeast storm. All day the rain beat on the 
panes of Rose Villa, all day the wind howled 
and snatched at the shutters, the house at times 
fairly quivering with its force. As dusk came, 
the gale increased to the proportions of a hur- 
ricane. Roger, going out to the pillar post-box, 
came struggling back with difficulty. 



THE CHEST ITSELF 317 

'T met one of the Noirniont fishermen," he 
reported. ' ' He said it is the worst gale in thirty 
years and when the weather clears the snrf will 
be worth seeing." 

1 i Fisher told me that a southeast storm kicked 
up a fine sea," replied Win. "I only hope it 
won't stop our going to the Manor to-morrow." 

All night the wind raged though the rain fin- 
ally ceased. It seemed as though the reputed 
witches of Jersey were holding high carnival 
with the unloosed elements of air and water. 
Day broke, still without rain, but the violence 
of the wind was not lessened. Eoger ran out to 
the end of the terrace and came hurrying back. 

"Come out, everybody, and look,'' he shouted 
above the uproar. ' ' The waves are coming over 
the breakwater. There isn't one inch of beach 
to be seen." 

Roger 's report was literally true. Though the 
sea wall protecting the town of St. Helier's rose 
twenty-five feet above the sands, the rollers 
were breaking beyond the wall on the esplanade 
itself, the white foam even running up some of 
the side streets. Only an inky howling mass 
of white-capped water stretched between the 
town and Elizabeth Castle. 



318 THE SPANISH CHEST 

Win, who had managed to make slow prog- 
ress to a point of vantage, stood fascinated by 
the wild whirl of wind and water. The tide was 
at the flood and the spectacle at its finest. Just 
a few moments sufficed to lessen its grandeur 
as the waves, yielding to the law of their being, 
were dragged away from the land. Presently, 
instead of dashing over the wall, they broke 
against it, and then came a scene of different 
interest. The water, forcibly striking the 
masonry, was flung back on the next incoming 
roller, with a collision that sent spray forty feet 
into the air from the violence of the shock. This 
phenomenon was repeated as the rollers crashed 
down the curve of the wall, continuing for its 
full length, the flying spray looking like con- 
secutive puffs of steam from a locomotive. 

"Look, there comes the train from St. 
Heller's!" exclaimed Eoger, dancing excitedly 
about. "'Doesn't it look as though the ocean 
was trying to catch it ? ' ' 

The little train had prudently delayed its 
starting until after the turn of the tide. As it 
crept slowly around the curve of the break- 
water, great white tongues of foam constantly 
shot over the wall like fingers frantically try- 



THE CHEST ITSELF 319 

ing to seize and draw it into the sea. But 
always the hands fell back baffled, to the 
accompaniment of a roar that sounded almost 
like human disappointment. The train reached 
St. Aubin's dripping with salt water. 

"Five stones are torn out of the coping in 
the wall," reported Roger, coming back from 
his inspection of the adventurous little engine. 
"The guard says they are sweeping pebbles 
and stones by the ton out of the streets beyond 
the esplanade. And coming down here, he 
twice had a barrel of water slapped right at 
him. He is as wet as a drowned rat." 

"The surf must be wonderful at Corbiere," 
said Estelle. "They say there is an undertow 
off that point which produces something this 
effect of the water flung back by the wall." 

"Why, here's Miss Connie!" exclaimed 
Frances in excitement. Max and Constance on 
horseback were coming down the terrace. 

"We've been half round the island," Connie 
announced after her first greetings. Well pre- 
pared for wind as they were, both looked dis- 
heveled. Connie's hair was braided in a thick 
club down her back, evidently the only way 
she could keep it under control; Max's was 



320 THE SPANISH CHEST 

plastered back by wind and spray, for he had 
lost his hat, and their horses were blown and 
spattered with salt brine. 

"Oh, but it is grand !" Constance went on. 
"Corbiere light is smothered in spray to the 
very top of the tower. We haven 't had a storm 
like this since I was a tiny kiddie." 

To talk above the uproar of the surf was dif- 
ficult. Asking them to be at the Manor 
promptly by three, the two rode away. 

"Why three ?" asked Frances as they re- 
gained the shelter of the house. 

"I think we are going down into the cave," 
said Win happily. "Mr. Max told me just now 
that we were to begin exploring there and that 
things would be arranged so that it would not 
be hard for me. I suppose he and Pierre have 
some plan." 

"But you aren't going into the cave on a day 
like this?" exclaimed Mrs. Thayne, quite horri- 
fied at this announcement. 

"Why, yes, Mother," said Win. "The tide 
will be as low as usual when it does ebb." 

"Of course," assented his mother. "I for- 
got. But how about this wind? You must 
have the pony, Win." 



THE CHEST ITSELF 321 

' ' I will if it keeps up, but I imagine the gale 
will blow itself out by noon." 

Win's prophecy proved correct. When the 
four started to keep their engagement, the 
wind was greatly abated and the only trace of 
the tempest was the ruined vines and gardens 
that marked their road. At the Manor gates, 
Colonel Lisle, Constance and Max met them. 

"It is to be the cave," Connie said gayly. 
1 i Max has things all mapped out for us. ' ' 

Arrived at the cliff, the party stopped. 
Marks of the storm were visible in one or two 
landslides and in a great amount of debris 
strewing the uncovered beach and rocks. Even 
large stones seemed to have been displaced. 

Max looked rather serious as he saw so much 
change in conditions usually stable. "I think 
you 'd better let me go down and report whether 
matters are as I expect," he said. "There 
seems to have been considerable doing in this 
vicinity last evening." 

' ' Let us wait, Win, ' ' said Constance quickly. 
"No use in going down until we see how he 
finds things." 

Colonel Lisle also elected to await the report, 
but Roger and the girls accompanied Max. 



322 THE SPANISH CHEST 

They were gone almost half an hour and the 
watchers on the cliff were beginning to wonder 
what had happened. When they did appear, 
they called to the others not to come. 

" 'The best laid plans of mice and men!' " 
sighed Max as he reached the top of the cliff. 
"Uncle, the storm has picked up all the stones 
I had Pierre clear out of the tunnel and 
wedged them in tight again like a cork in a 
bottle." 

"There was a passage and we can't get into 
it?" demanded Win eagerly, his face reflecting 
the disappointment visible on the faces of the 
other young people. 

"There was," replied Max, looking at him 
sympathetically, "not merely into another cave 
but striking inland. Pierre cleared its mouth 
and reported it passable for fifty feet. Beyond 
that he did not go. Now, it is stopped as tight 
as ever. This shows, Uncle, how it came to be 
lost to the recollection of everybody about the 
Manor." 

"Yes," said Colonel Lisle. "Very likely it 
was stopped by a similar storm a century or 
more ago. So far as I know there has never 
been a legend of any tunnel. But, Max," he 



THE CHEST ITSELF 323 

added, " there is yet the cellar where you and 
Win have decided that the passage enters the 
house." 

"May we knock a hole there?" Max asked 
quickly. Win had said nothing more but his 
disappointment was evident. 

1 ' Certainly, if you like, ' ' assented the Colonel, 
smiling. "Only be prepared for another disil- 
lusion when you get the wall down. The exist- 
ence of the tunnel doesn't ensure that of the 
chest." 

Max whistled, evidently a signal, for Pierre 
promptly appeared with a rope over his 
shoulder. 

"We sha'n't need that now," said Max. He 
proceeded to add some rapid directions in 
French. Pierre nodded, grinned cheerfully and 
set off at a fast pace. 

"I've told him to get another man and come 
to knock in the vault wall," Max explained as 
they started toward the Manor. "We may not 
get it down this afternoon, but that's all that's 
left to try. I'm beastly annoyed about that 
tiresome hole. Why should a ripsnorter of a 
storm come on the one day when it could spoil 
our plans?" 



3 2 4 THE SPANISH CHEST 

"It's provoking, ' ' agreed Win. "Do you 
suppose there is really anything in the pas- 
sage ?" 

"Blessed if I know!" replied Max. "The one 
thing sure is that there is a passage. There 
must be since we located one end of it in the 
cave. If it hadn't been for that, we might not 
be permitted to tear down the wall, but even 
Uncle is convinced now that the tunnel exists. ' 9 

"Come and have tea," said Connie as they 
reached the Manor. "It's a bit early, but we 
may as well begin, for nobody knows how long 
it will take to pierce the vault." 

Max went down to show the men where to 
work and reported that the stone seemed soft 
and inclined to break easily. "This isn't going 
to be much of a job," he reported. "I told 
Pierre to send word as soon as he struck 
through. ' ' 

"What do you suppose the chest will look 
like!" asked Frances. "Will it be silver?" 

"No such luck," Max replied. "Possibly 
metal, probably wood, always provided that we 
find it." 

"You mustn't throw cold water, Max," re- 
proved Connie from behind the tea-table. 



THE CHEST ITSELF 325 

' * Since we have found the passage, why not the 
chest? Let's have it a gorgeous one while we 
are about it, gold studded with uncut rubies 
and the Spanish crown in diamonds.' ' 

Frances and Edith shrieked at thought of 
such sumptuousness and one by one each ex- 
pressed an opinion as to what the box would 
resemble and its probable contents. Roger de- 
cided that the chest was of solid iron, fastened 
by seven locks of which they would have to find 
the seven keys and that inside would be discov- 
ered a complete suit of royal armor. 

"I fear that Prince Charles would not have 
made good his escape from England clad in a 
clanking suit of mail, ' ' said the amused Colonel. 

Just then Yvonne entered with her usual 
pretty air of importance. "It is Pierre who de- 
sires M'sieur to attend in the cellar," she said, 
addressing herself to Max. 

The entire party rose, hastily placing tea- 
cups on any convenient article of furniture. 
Roger found the floor most accessible for his, 
but with prudent foresight took with him such 
easily conveyed articles as the jam sandwiches 
and plum cake upon his plate. 

Down in the cellar, Pierre and McNeil, the 



326 THE SPANISH CHEST 

Scotch gardener, stood facing the northern wall 
just where the newer wing joined the oldest 
Manor vault. Before them yawned a hole al- 
ready two feet in diameter. 

With a grin on his face, Pierre thrust his 
crowbar through and showed that a space 
not quite a yard wide intervened before the 
tool brought up against what was in reality 
the outer wall of the cellar. The partition it- 
self was only a foot thick, but because it was 
of equal thickness throughout its length, Max 
had not been able to detect any difference in 
resonance. 

"Bien, Pierre!" exclaimed Max eagerly. "En 
avant!" 

Pierre and McNeil attacked the wall again, 
Pierre all smiles and gay glances over this re- 
markable whim of M'sieur Max, whose whims 
as a rule he found enjoyable; McNeil looking 
perhaps not grimmer than usual, but as though 
the whole affair was quite below his dignity. To 
knock a hole in a perfectly good stone partition 
which would require a mason to fill and put in 
proper shape again at an expense of solid Jer- 
sey shillings, struck his thrifty Scotch soul as 
folly. Still, if Colonel Lisle wished to indulge 



THE CHEST ITSELF 327 

Mr. Max in this youthful eccentricity, it was 
not McNeil's place to protest. 

After fifteen minutes a cavity yawned in the 
cellar wall, disclosing a passage leading to the 
left. 

< ' That will do, McNeil, ' ' said Colonel. ' ' That's 
enough for the purpose. Go ahead, boys. It 
was through your efforts that the tunnel was 
located, so it is for you to see this out." 

"Win shall be first," said Max. "Step in, 
old fellow." 

Pale with excitement, Win took the offered 
lantern and approached the hole. Once inside 
the opening he found that he could stand erect 
for the passage ran straight along the cellar 
wall about three feet wide and over five feet 
high. It seemed dry and the air was not musty. 
Rough stones formed its floor and roof but the 
crude workmanship had been strong and only 
a few scattered stones had fallen during the 
centuries. 

Max followed with another lantern, and 
Roger made the third explorer. The excited 
heads of the girls were thrust into the passage 
but only Frances actually stepped within. 

Win went slowly down the gently sloping 



328 THE SPANISH CHEST 

tunnel, and presently the eager watchers who 
coulcl catch only glimpses of shadowy roof and 
walls in the fitful light of the lanterns, saw the 
three stop. In her excitement, Fran forgot her 
fear of the distance stretching before her and 
ran to them. The next second came a wild 
warwhoop from Roger. 

"It's here!' , Max called more quietly. 

At this wonderful news the rest entered the 
passage, the Colonel as eager as the others. 
Fifty feet from the opening at one side of the 
tunnel was a rough niche or alcove and in it 
stood a box about two feet square. Upon its 
cover lay the dust of ages, and it was scarcely 
to be distinguished in color from the stones 
about it. 

"We'll bring it out, Uncle," said Max. "No 
place to open it here. You hold the lanterns, 
Win. Lend a hand, Roger. Go easy; we don't 
know how much knocking it will stand." 

His eyes almost starting from his head, 
Roger took one of the handles, the girls stepped 
back and in two minutes the party stood in the 
open cellar, looking at what was undoubtedly 
the Spanish chest. 

" Is it heavy?' ' asked Fran breathlessly, while 




What was undoubtedly thk Spanish Chest. —Page 328. 



THE CHEST ITSELF 329 

Pierre went for a brush to remove the silted 
dust. 

"Rather," said Max, looking boyishly ex- 
cited. "Ah, now we know the style of the 
chest. No gold box nor uncut rubies, Connie !" 

Relieved of its heavy coating of dust, the box 
proved of dark wood, carefully finished and or- 
namented by plates and corners of steel. Upon 
its cover was inlaid a scroll engraved with the 
Manor arms and the name of Richard Lisle. 

"Gracious, what great-grandfather bought 
that bit of bric-a-brac!" exclaimed Connie, see- 
ing her father's eyes light with interested 
pleasure. "It must have been the original 
Richard himself. Is it locked ? ' ' 

Max tried the lid. "No," he said, straight- 
ening up and looking at the Colonel. "It is 
your play, Uncle Dick. Only a Lisle of Laurel 
Manor should open Richard's chest." 

The Colonel smiled, stepped forward and 
with his single hand lifted the lid. The ex- 
cited group about him bent forward eagerly. 

At first glance a roll of dark cloth was all 
that appeared. When Colonel Lisle lifted this, 
it unfolded into a long-skirted coat ornamented 
with many buttons. The fabric was stained 



330 THE SPANISH CHEST 

and rotten, in places moth-eaten. Below the 
coat lay a pair of leather gloves with long 
wrists, stiff as boards, and two blackened bits 
of metal that proved to be spurs. 

For a moment no one spoke. The young peo- 
ple were silent, impressed with the fact that 
long years ago these things had been the prop- 
erty of a prince of England. 

With a smile the Colonel looked first at Max 
and then at Win. "Are you satisfied V 9 he 
asked. "Though the contents of the Spanish 
chest have no value in money, they certainly 
are rich in historical interest." 

' ' Oh, it was the fun of finding it that I cared 
about, ■ ' said Win quickly. ' ' That was the point 
for me. And I am so glad there is something 
in it." 

"Let's take it up-stairs," suggested Connie. 
"We can see so much better." 

The boys and Max delayed to inspect the 
empty secret passage, following to the spot 
where it was blocked by its stopper of stone. 
Then they joined the group in the study. In 
bright daylight, the fine workmanship on the 
Toledo steel trimmings of the chest stood out in 
full beauty. 



THE CHEST ITSELF 331 

"The design on these buttons is very signifi- 
cant, ' ' remarked Colonel Lisle, who was inspect- 
ing the wreck of the once handsome coat. 
"And I suspect that they are of silver.' ' 

Examination showed on the tarnished metal 
the three ostrich feathers that have marked the 
badge of the Prince of Wales since the far-off 
days of Edward the Black Prince. Below was 
the motto, "Ich dien," and the single letter C. 

i ' On my next new suit I guess I '11 have but- 
tons marked E,' ' said Roger solemnly. 

The others laughed. A feeling of real awe 
had been creeping over them to think that gar- 
ment had once been worn by Prince Charles. 

"Here's a loose button,' ' said Max, picking 
it out of the box. "The whole coat is falling 
in pieces." 

"The buttons will last indefinitely," said 
Colonel Lisle, regarding thoughtfully the one 
Max had just rescued. "Thanks to Win's 
clever brain, the Manor has acquired an unsus- 
pected secret passage and a valuable antique; 
of especial value to me because of the name it 
bears. I want you to keep this button, Win, for 
I think you, almost more than any one I know, 
will appreciate it and what it stands for," 



332 THE SPANISH CHEST 

Win turned pale. To possess a silver button 
once the property of bonnie Prince Charlie ren- 
dered him speechless. 

"Oh, Colonel Lisle/ ' he said after a minute, 
"I oughtn't to take a thing of such value. It 
belongs here." 

' ' I want you to have it, my boy, ' ' replied the 
Colonel kindly. "I really am indebted to you, 
for we have positive proof now that the Manor 
walls once sheltered the Prince.' ' 

"I should value that button above all 
things," said Win simply, "if you really wish 
me to have it. Only it seems as though Mr. 
Max had done much more toward solving the 
mystery. ' ' 

"I merely followed the lead you gave me," 
said Max, who was looking at him with a very 
friendly expression. "You played a pretty fine 
game yourself, Win." 

"As for that," said the Colonel smiling, 
"Maxfield may have a button too, if he cares 
for it." 

"Thank you, Uncle Dick," Max replied 
promptly. "I do value it, but perhaps for the 
present, it would better stop with the others." 

As Max spoke, he looked not at the Colonel 



THE CHEST ITSELF 333 

but at Constance, leaning against the table be- 
side him. Something in their attitude struck 
Win's always acute perception. For the first 
time he doubted whether the young people of 
the Manor had been as genuinely absorbed in 
that search as he supposed. About Max, half- 
sitting on the corner of the study table, about 
Connie, with her hands loosely clasped before 
her, there was a certain air of quiet detachment, 
as of those who politely look on at some inter- 
esting comedy, but who, as soon as courtesy 
permits, will return to affairs of more impor- 
tance. 

"You need not have the least scruple about 
accepting it, Win," the Colonel went on. "We 
hope this will not be your last visit to the island, 
but in any case, whenever you look at that old 
relic, you will have to give us a thought as 
well. ,, 

Win turned the tarnished button on his palm. 
Yes, the sight of it would always bring back 
memories of the green lanes, the red cliffs, the 
turquoise sea of Jersey, not least the hours in 
the library, the Spanish chest and the Lisles of 

Laurel Manor. 

##* 



AFTERWORD 

After the story was finished and the charac- 
ters were going away, Max and Connie turned 
back. 

"We have kept our promise ?" they asked. 
"We have played quite nicely and haven't been 
silly?" 

"You have really been very good," admitted 
the author. "If Max hadn't appeared just when 
he did to rescue Edith and Frances from the 
tide, probably the story must have stopped 
there. And Connie has been most helpful about 
lending the Manor house and the beach dog." 

"May we play again?" Max asked. 

4 * I think not, ' ' decided the author. ' ' This is 
five months later. You really must be grown- 
up now and stay so." 

"We have been all the time," said Connie. 
< < We 've pretended just to please you. But since 
you let us come into the story when we weren't 

334 



AFTERWORD 335 

expected nor invited, it is only polite to tell you 
what we are going to do now." 

They looked at each other and smiled. 

' ' Every girl who reads this story will want to 
know/' Connie went on. "It would indeed be 
very diverting to be Princess Santo-Ponte, but 
somehow I think the chances of * living happily 
ever after' are greater with Max. There's 
nothing at all romantic about marrying Max, 
but you might just mention that I'm going to 
doit." 

THB END.